Essay on Healthcare System and the Amish

Submitted By oliviaducasse
Words: 1343
Pages: 6

The Amish Decision Olivia Ducasse ANT:101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Instructor Michelle Neumyer 6/3/12

The Amish Decision 1

The Amish religion and culture is one of the most recognizable and mysterious societies in the world. Even more intriguing than their separation from the outside world is the fact that they cannot be clearly classified, because so few people are actually let inside their world. These civilizations have been able to exist apart from the stresses of modern America, maintaining and cultivating a lifestyle of tradition and values that are vacant from the everyday lives of the rest of society. To be Amish is not only a way of life; it is a monumental religious and spiritual choice. And it is not only the decision itself to Amish that illustrate the beauty and sacredness of this culture; it is the point of being offered a choice at all.

The Amish Decision 2

The Amish people not only respect each other, they encourage each member to make the choices that resonate within their soul, and to truly follow their true path, even if that path may lead away from their way of life. At the heart of the Amish culture lies the community, which is, I essence, an extension of the family unit. The interactions between members of the Amish community are held to a high standard of moral and social regard, and everyone within the society is expected to behave as so. “Every Amish reaches a point in their youth when they go through the rite of passage known as “Rumspringa”(Kroeker,2004) This coming of age ritual is the point which every young Amish looks forward to, and every Amish parent dreads, because this is when each teenager may choose for themselves, after experiencing the outside world, whether the Amish way of life is for them or not. Beginning at age sixteen, Amish youth are permitted to enter western society, to travel away from the Amish community and experience life within the modern world. “Unlike western society’s coming of age perils, which tend to happen gradually and uniquely within each family, Rumspringa is a sanctioned ,condoned ritual aimed at helping the young Amish person find their identity”(Rearick,2001). I believe this is one of the reasons the Amish community is so steadfast in their beliefs, having been given a period of exploration, they can return to the community with a profound knowledge of who they are, what they want, and what the rest of the world has to offer them.

The rituals of the Amish, such as rumspringa highlight the focus of the Amish towards the communal setting, instead of the self. This is the fundamental of the Amish culture, known as Gelassanheit, otherwise known as submission to the will of God (Gross, 1999). This means that each Amish abandon any thoughts of self or selfishness, and simply allows God’s will to be done through him, better serving his community and his God. This belief is encapsulated in every moment of their lives, as they are taught from a very young age that there is no singular identity in the society, and that any thoughts or actions otherwise would be of high disgrace in the eyes of God and the community. Not only does this sense of others before thyself instill a solid faith base in them, it also creates an incredibly durable and deep connection with their fellow Amish.

As part of their faith-based lifestyle, Amish people have been known to take an alternative and spiritual approach to healthcare as well. In the Amish community having health insurance is an alien concept, as is what