Saturday, May 5, 2018

Amish School Picnic!

Tim and I spent the last day of April in Smicksburg. While visiting an Amish family, something extraordinary happened. Let me explain.

Little Andy, age ten, is the chatterbox of the family, and he had ants in his pants, excitement making him jump. “Do you know we had a half-day today because tomorrow is the school picnic? We walked home because we had a half day. It’s only a two-mile hike through the woods. And it’s so nice outside. I can’t wait for the school picnic! We have so much fun. So much to eat. We play games! The parents come to school for the whole day!”

I chuckled and asked what else they did at the picnic. He tilted his head and flung up his arms and repeated what he just said with more gusto. And he added, “There’s no school, and it’s the last day! We’re off for the summer!!!!!”

I understood that part. I lived for the last day of school when I was in elementary school. I chatted with the other kids and they came back to talking about the school picnic. You’d think they won a trip to Disneyland, I thought. And then it hit me. These children enjoyed simple things. A picnic with food and games. Community.  Once again, I felt like I was transported out to the prairie and was talking to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The oldest son, Reuben, was thirteen and graduating. He seemed a little sad but went on to explain that he has an apprenticeship with a wood carver to satisfy the state’s requirements. Pennsylvania makes Amish children do a one-year vocational training after they finish eighth grade. Rueben will put in his one year, but he already had a job with his grandfather making sheds. He’ll be taking over the business someday.  That transported me to Ben Walton who worked with his grandpa on Walton’s Mountain during the Great Depression.

So, what was extraordinary? Children content with simple things. Children not hooked to electronics. Children who had fun the old-fashioned way. Baseball and apple pie. I think I need to hang out with these kids more and learn from them. How easy it is to become discontent in our pleasure saturated culture.

We went back to the camp and reevaluated our lives.


  1. So much truth to this! Today I stumbled onto your blog, and am thankful for it. I recently moved from South Carolina and have landed in the middle of Amish country. There is so much I have to learn. All my neighbors are Amish, and after 3 months they finally wave as their riding by. Our neighbor Sam has been by twice, first with cookies then with strawberries. So I'm trying to figure out how does one approach their Amish neighbors. I'm so confused as I never came close to any of this growing up in the South. I'm hoping by reading your blog I'll be able to learn what is going on around us.

  2. Hi Denise,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. Glad you stopped by. One thing the Amish value is that you can be trusted. By that I mean you'll show respect to their culture, even if you don't agree. This is called being a "Trusted English Friend." You'll do fine but for the best info I recommend all of Suzanne Woods Fishers non-fiction books, especially "Amish Peace", and Donald Kraybill's book, "The Amish Way". And I hope you enjoy reading through this blog. God bless!

    1. Thank you. I will search for those books! God bless!