What do the traditional plain-living Amish have to teach twenty-first-century Americans in our hyper-everything world? As it turns out, quite a lot!
It sounds audacious, but it's true: the Amish have much to teach us. It may seem surreal to turn to one of America's most traditional groups for lessons about living in a hyper-tech world--especially a horse-driving people who resist "progress" by snubbing cars, public grid power, and high school education. Still, their wisdom confirms that even when they seem so far behind, they're out ahead of the rest of us.
Having spent four decades researching Amish communities, Donald B. Kraybill is in a unique position to share important lessons from these fascinating Plain people. In this inspiring book, we learn intriguing truths about community, family, education, faith, forgiveness, aging, and death from real Amish men and women. The Amish are ahead of us, for example, in relying on apprenticeship education. They have also out-Ubered Uber for nearly a century, hiring cars owned and operated by their neighbors. Kraybill also explains how the Amish function in modern society by rejecting new developments that harm their community, accepting those that enhance it, and adapting others to fit their values.
Pairing storytelling with informative and reflective passages, these twenty-two essays offer a critique of modern culture that is provocative yet practical. In a time when civil discourse is raw and coarse and our social fabric seems torn asunder, What the Amish Teach Us uproots our assumptions about progress and prods us to question why we do what we do.
1. Riddles: Negotiating with Modernity2. Villages: Webs of Well-Being3. Community: Taming the Big "I"4. Smallness: Bigness Ruins Everything5. Tolerance: A Light on a Hill6. Spirituality: A Back Road to Heaven7. Family: A Deep and Durable Bond8. Children: At Worship, Work, and Play9. Parenting: Raising Sturdy Children10. Education: The Way It Should Be11. Apprenticeship: An Old New Idea12. Technology: Taming the Beast13. Hacking: Creative Bypasses14. Entrepreneurs: Starting Stuff15. Patience: Slow Down and Listen16. Limits: Less Choice, More Joy17. Rituals: A Natural Detox18. Retirement: Aging in Place19. Forgiveness: Pathway to Healing20. Suffering: A Higher Plan21. Nonresistance: No Pushback22. Death: A Good Farewell