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By John Andrew Hostetler

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The young are given full adult work and routine responsibilities on the home and farm, but spiritually they do not acquire adult status until they are baptized. Occasionally a few of the young people's gatherings get out of hand. Barn parties, which include a hired rock band and alcoholic beverages, without the consent or knowledge of the parents, are an embarrassment to the adult community. The parents respect the privacy of their children. Adults do not participate in the gatherings of the young and are careful not to intrude into the activities of their children and friends.

They enjoy the satisfaction of harvest, the simplicity of their home furnishings, orderliness on their farms, and perhaps not least of all, the pleasure of a good meal. The Amish forgo worldly pleasures in anticipation of eternal life. They live and die in hope of a future reward, but not with the knowledge that they have already attained it. Although the Amish are communitarian in the sense of caring for and sharing with each other, they are neither a commune nor a model for utopia. Unlike most modern people, they have not rebelled against the restrictions of community, neighborhood, family, and rural village life.

Youth From birth to death, a person in Amish society passes through a series of distinct age stages. The recognized stages are: (1) little children, (2) scholars, (3) young folks, (4) adults, and (5) old folks. In each stage the individual learns to respond in approved ways. With role expectations clearly defined, there is a high degree of security and personal trust among members. Most young people look forward to leaving elementary school. They know that important work is awaiting them on the farm.

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