My New Respect for the Amish

  1. I heard this segment on NPR yesterday - about how the Amish extended forgiveness to the killer - and it just gave me goosebumps. It is the anniversary of the shooting of the young girls at the Amish school in Pennsylvania, so they were doing a recap. I don't know how you would begin to forgive something like that.

    Amish Forgive School Shooter, Struggle With Grief
    October 2, 2007 · It's been a week for quiet reflection in the Amish communities around Nickel Mines, Pa., which one year ago experienced tragedy.
    It was in the tiny community that a man stormed into a one-room schoolhouse and shot 10 young girls, killing five. He then killed himself. That old school has since been demolished. The new school was closed on the one-year anniversary and families met privately in prayer.
    Since the tragedy, people around the world have been inspired by the way the Amish expressed forgiveness toward the killer and his family. But while their acts of forgiveness were inspiring, they also caused a misperception that the Amish had quickly gotten over the tragedy.
    Forgiving the Killer
    Charles Roberts wasn't Amish, but Amish families knew him as the milk truck driver who made deliveries. Last month, it was announced that the Amish community had donated money to the killer's widow and her three young children.
    It was one more gesture of forgiveness, gestures that began soon after the shooting.
    Donald Kraybill, is a sociologist at nearby Elizabethtown College and co-author of Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy.
    "I think the most powerful demonstration of the depth of Amish forgiveness was when members of the Amish community went to the killer's burial service at the cemetery," Kraybill says. "Several families, Amish families who had buried their own daughters just the day before were in attendance and they hugged the widow, and hugged other members of the killer's family."
    Achieving Forgiveness
    The misperception that the Amish had quickly gotten over the tragedy was one of many about the community, according to Jonas Beiler, the founder of the Family Resource and Counseling Center.
    Beiler says there's another myth about the Amish: that they don't use electricity or drive cars, and that they don't seek mental health therapy. Beiler's is one of the handful of counseling centers that have been used by local Amish.
    Beiler and his therapists have counseled many people in the Amish community in the wake of the school shooting. A year later, some family members are still startled by the sound of a helicopter overhead. Survivors, including some of the older boys who were let go by the killer, now wonder if somehow they could have stopped the massacre.
    "We've talked to these people," says Beiler. "And they're all dealing with this one day at a time, the best they can. There are still nightmares. Some of the schoolchildren are dealing with what we would call, emotional instabilities, and this will go on for several years yet."
    Beiler says that over the last generation, Amish have become more open to getting therapy. He and his wife Anne are examples. Thirty years ago, their infant daughter was killed. The Beilers, like many people in the Amish community at that time, kept their grief hidden, even from each other. Only when they started attending counseling several years later, was their marriage saved.
    A Commitment to Help Others
    Beiler became such a believer in therapy that he set out to be a marriage and family counselor himself.
    "Obviously that didn't help put a lot of groceries on the table because I was busy studying and counseling at the same time," he recalls.
    To make ends meet, Anne started an Amish food stand at the farmer's market. The hand-rolled, soft pretzels she made were very popular. In fact, they were so popular that the Beilers built a nationwide business selling them. If you've been in an American airport, you probably know Auntie Anne's Pretzels.
    This business success allowed Beiler to help popularize counseling among the Amish.
    "Tragedy changes you. You can't stay the same," Beiler says. "Where that lands you don't always know. But what I found out in my own experience if you bring what little pieces you have left to God, he somehow helps you make good out of it. And I see that happening in this school shooting as well. One just simple thing that the whole world got to see was this simple message of forgiveness."
    Beiler says that because the Amish can express that forgiveness, and because they hold no grudges, they are better able to concentrate on the work of their own healing.
  2. Wow! I am impressed too. Forgiveness is the greatest courage.
  3. They're following scripture. Something all Christians should do. They follow different traditions but they are still my brothers and sisters. :yes: They are setting a good example.
  4. Wow.. They really are amazing people, I've always had a lot of respect for them.
  5. That reminds me of the story of the young woman who was murdered while working with an NGO in South Africa, apparently by someone from among the same group of people she was helping.

    Her parents chose to heal, and honor her memory by going to the same neighborhood and continuing her work.
  6. Whenever Im in Ohio I go to Amish Country. They are such fabulous people. It really doesnt surprise me that they forgive him. Not to mention the furniture they make is TDF! lol
  7. I really respect the amish, but IMHO I would have never forgave him. There is a limit to forgiveness, that man killed all those kids and they didnt even experience life:crybaby:
  8. I defintly have alot of respect for the amish. I dont think I could ever forgive some one who took some one's life that was dear to me! I hate to admit it but im being honest! They are very go0d people and should be an example to us in alot of ways!
  9. And pie. It is a known fact that the Amish regularly invoke supernatural powers in the making of pie.
  10. I thought the Auntie Anne's Pretzel bit was interesting. I love those things.
  11. Choking on my food reading this post. You all MUST READ Amish Confidential. You will no long have "respect" for this religious sector. I'm a Christian and go to a bible study and have an ex Amish individual in the group. He escaped when he was 18. In our BS he never talks about his people. He's a quiet and humble man and only says that the religion is not what it appears to be, that they rule with total intimination. I pressed him once to give me a better understanding that's when he suggested I read this book, he said it mirrored his life almost 100 percent.

    It was so disgusting I had to close the pages and walk away. Nauseating really. But eventually I read the whole thing. I never even told this guy that I read the book. I have respect for him because he found the courage to leave, just like the author.
  12. ^^^yikes. PMing you now for more info....

  13. I hit you back okay!
  14. I'll see if I can find it at the library.
  15. There are good and bad sides to the Amish, depending on the group/community/individual. On one side, they are respectful, hard working people who only want the best for one another. On another side, they are puppy mill-runners, practitioners of rape/incest, and behave harshly to those that choose to leave the community. I have a respect for some Amish groups, but there are groups that are just awful and should be looked at more closely by law enforcement.