Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do the Amish go on strike? Walk off the job?

Today I saw Amish friends who are construction workers. They’re excited about their new business making tiny houses. The Tiny House Movement is sweeping the USA as a sort of protest against McMansions; it’s a counter-cultural shift. The 1980’s was the decade of “BIGness” and now the paradigm shift is
towards “smallness.”

My daughter and I told the Amish how much a typical tiny house completely finished would cost: $40,000.00. They felt that they could beat the cost by using their own sawmills and wood. We ordered them a book on tiny house construction and floor plans, which includes sources to buy all necessary appliances. My daughter joked with them that they should get old-fashioned Ben Franklin pot belly stoves and make the interior look like an Amish house. At first we all laughed and then…light bulb. What a great idea.

But this business is being started due to Amish crews walking off their construction jobs since they were being paid substantially lower than non-Amish, what they call “the English” or “Yankees.” The Amish turn the other cheek, but they’re not pushovers. They believe in justice, fair pay for their hard work.

In starting their own business building tiny houses, Joe quit his job that took him away from his home and he started a sawmill on his land. Along with his dad and a brother-in-law they’ll make tiny houses. When they found out that their competition was selling these little 300 square feet houses for 40K they gawked. I thought they were mentally counting money, but they weren’t. They simply said, “We’ll sell them at a fair price, not that high.”

So, fair pay and fair prices are at the core of an Amish word ethic.

Look for Amish built tiny houses at a fair price soon
I’m thrilled that they walked off their jobs because fair pay wasn't given. It turned out for the best. They have a skip in their steps about being able to stay home and start this fascinating new business. And our family owns Thrifty Christian Shopper, an online store, and we’ll be able to use the internet to take orders. Our payment? A tiny house! I want one so badly. But I don’t want an Amish style one, but Victorian with gingerbread trim ;) 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Franklin Regional strong in community; a school that brings hope

This blog is about Amish life, but it also underscores the fact that you don’t have to be Amish to have community and hope.

My fifteen year old nephew was absent from high school the day of the stabbing assault at Franklin Regional. He said he’s angry that his school will be viewed in a negative light. On the contrary; reports coming in have shown students who care, laying down their lives if necessary, and there is no grater love or sacrifice. Students shielded friends, or stayed in the path of danger to apply pressure to stop bleeding goes against the grain to “RUN!” But these students, when in danger, did what they’d be taught by parents and teachers, lessons not learned overnight.

Another compassionate response was from the father of the assailant. Stopped by reporters in front yard, you could see the man was distraught, but he turned and said how sorry he was and that his prayers are with the victims.

Stories coming out of Franklin Regional are more like Nickel Mines Amish school shootings. An Amish reaction is to pause and then act. Some call it the “Amish pause.” Think before you act. But it’s a Biblical response:

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19 NLT)

Churches in Murrysville responded, ministers there to provide pastoral counseling, candlelight services, prayers…yes, these students had the spiritual help that made them strong before the day of tragedy and now support to recover.

My nephew was in a Franklin play recently: Guys and Dolls. The students were so polite, the acting, dancing, singing so incredible, community involvement unmatched, my husband said afterwards: “Franklin students give me hope for the future of this country.” I agreed. Hard workings, team players are what I saw at the play. Caring teachers, parent involvement from selling Candy Grams to helping with props. It all shouted out COMMUNITY!

A tragedy like this can happen in any community. We can learn a lot from the students, teachers, parents, and local churches at Franklin Regional.

I sang this song proudly in high school in the 70’s. Franklin Regional’s Alma Mater is being sung now with greater pride in their community.

Alma Mater, true and glorious, let thy flag of wisdom fly.

Billow forth thy pride victorious, dear old Franklin High.

We will vow our service to thee, and the strength to reach our goals.

We will honor and defend thee Franklin High School Blue and Gold.