Preparedness Lessons From The Amish

Preparedness Lessons From The Amish

Recently I traveled to Amish country with my wife Rachel and a small group of friends.  Our guide was an “English” who has cultivated long term friendships within the Amish, Mennonite and other faith communities in his area.  I enjoy learning about other cultures and often find preparedness lessons in what I learn and observe…my recent trip was no exception and here are the Preparedness Lessons From The Amish community.

Technology Mix:  Amish communities carefully select what technologies to adopt.  I won’t go into the spiritual side of why the communities make their decisions but suffice it to say that they live with a mix of modern technologies like solar panels intermingled with anarchistic technologies like horse drawn buggies and kerosene lanterns.  As a prepper you must also decide on what mix of technologies you employ in your daily life and just-in-case preparations.  Some preppers think that they’d be lost without a generator, deep freeze, electric heaters and electric lights.  Others are willing to heat with wood, store food in root cellars and rely on LED flashlights and lanterns recharged by solar panels.  Choose the best solutions for your environment, experience, physical abilities and financial resources.  Mix and match technologies to fulfill your needs.  The Amish are much less reliant on modern technology than anyone reading this article but even the Amish aren’t unwilling to learn and adopt certain modern technologies…take this same approach in your preps by learning and including antiquated technologies and practices when appropriate.

Community is Key:  Your immediate community represented by family and faith connections makes up for the inability of any one household to be fully self sufficient but the greater community represented by neighbors, co-workers, business colleagues and acquaintances is just as important.  In the community I was in the Amish, the ‘English’ and the other communities have a symbiotic relationship where the Amish provide craftsmanship (construction, furniture, crafts, etc.) and quality foodstuffs while the ‘English’ provide transportation (drove Amish work crews to the city for construction work), markets (conduit to get Amish goods to the tourists and channel the tourists to the Amish services) and communications (facilitate Amish access to the internet to purchase necessary items that can’t be procured locally as well as provide telephone service to the phone booths outside most Amish homes).

A Little Tolerance & Decorum Go A Long Way:  You’d expect that with so many immersive faith communities sharing such a small community that there would be constant conflict between those living the ‘right way’ and those living the ‘wrong way.’  In my short foray into the Amish communities I often found myself surrounded by an eclectic mix of Amish, Mennonites, Methodists, Baptists and the unchurched.  Even my normally rowdy travel mates fell into a comfortable, culturally neutral  pattern of behavior where everyone not only tolerated each other’s differences, but accommodated their views of modesty and decorum.  I found the small community I visited much more civil and less fractured than communities I’ve visited and lived in that were much more homogeneous in their demographics.

Reputation is Everything:  When dealing with others across the void of radically different cultures you must be even more scrupulous in fostering and preserving your good reputation.  The person you’re buying from or selling to may not understand who you are or where you come from… he may virtually live in another century technologically…the only thing he or she may know of you is how you treat with him.  Your reputation is your most valuable asset and may someday represent the difference between life and death…protect it accordingly.

These are the lessons this tourist took away from my Amish community visit.  I’d be interested to know what preppers that live alongside the Amish day-to-day feel they’ve learned from their Amish friends and neighbors.

Next time I want to learn more about Amish appliances like kerosene powered refrigerators and washing machines…might come in handy some day.,

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