“It is better to suffer wrong than to commit wrong.” The author's newest book was inspired by a true story in which a Mennonite investment fund manager mismanaged funds. Although the Amish and Mennonite investors were entitled to take him to court and make claims on the liquidated assets of the investment company, they chose not to. For biblical reasons, the Amish won’t sue anyone in a court of law. If they are wronged, so be it.
“A man is happier to be sometimes cheated than to never trust.” Instead, Plain communities across the country took up donations to help reimburse those who had lost money in the fund. To the Amish way of thinking, vengeance belongs to God. They conduct modern business the old-fashioned way – with a handshake, a word of honor, and trust.
“You will always leave something behind. Your influence.” A theme in Amish life is the power of example. It’s customary to include children in all parts of life – lengthy church services, weddings, funerals, barn raisings – so they are constantly steeped in good modeling.
“Teaching children to count is fine, but teaching what counts is better.” One storyline running through The Letters is about an oh-so-proper Amish grandmother who allows her granddaughters to keep one book in the house (beside the Holy Bible and Fox’s Book of Martyrs). The book is called A Young Woman’s Guide to Virtue and was published in 1948. The granddaughters find the book to be thoroughly old-fashioned and outdated, but surprisingly, they pull wisdom from it as they navigate their own teenaged pitfalls. In her own way, this Amish grandmother gets her message across, loud and clear.
“The time to make friends is before you need them.” True friendship includes to give and receive, to help and be helped.
“Experience is the great teacher.” Apprenticeships for the young are common among the Amish. It ties in with their learn-by-doing philosophy. When work is to be done, the Amish don’t exclude children or young people and keep them at home. Instead, the children are part of the work party, given age-appropriate tasks.
“We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.” In The Letters, another storyline deals with a horse trainer who takes on an immature, impulsive, and “often wrong but never in doubt” apprentice – an exasperating personality! But both men benefit from the experience.
“If you don’t give up you haven’t lost.” Perseverance, to the Amish, is highly valued.
“Good deeds have echoes.” Does it seem like a stretch of fiction to read about Amish helping the non-Amish? If so, you might be surprised to learn that the Amish often come to the aid of others. Many men are volunteer fire fighters or travel with CAM (Christian Aid Ministries) to help areas hit by natural disasters. Amish women make tied quilts to send to prisoners.
“Those who had no children know best how to raise them.” Some Amish families take in foster children. They do these acts of kindness quietly, though, without drawing attention to themselves. The Amish believe that we are made in the image of a God who is by nature good. Doing good is God’s work. Think of the impact of a good deed or kind word.
“You cannot do everything at once but you can do something at once.” If you are under the impression that the Amish don’t have a sense of humor, well, “have another think.”
“Raising boys is as easy as digesting iron.” Get your daily dose of Amish Wisdom by downloading Suzanne’s free app!
Here is Suzanne’s family favorite: “Every mother crow thinks her own crow is the blackest.”