The most important thing to the Amish community is family. Children are though to be blessings from the Lord and it is a shameful thing not to care for the elderly. Anyone choosing to be baptized into the faith of the Amish church will be expected to marry and have children. Amish are limited to marrying only other Amish however they may come from another church or community. The Amish family is large and conforms to traditional gender roles. Divorce is forbidden and a separation rarely happens.
The father is the spiritual head of his household that means he is responsible for leading them in all aspects spiritual, decisions, wage earning and discipline. The wife and mother may help with the family business but her primary job is in the home. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and childcare are all on her daily agenda. She will also keep a garden and tend small livestock while managing the children to be sure their chores are also done.
Amish families are very close due to their way of life.
They spend most of their day with one another. Every meal is a sit down affair with all family members present. Once the meal is finished, the women and young ladies work around the house while the father and the older boys work in the fields or workshop. This pattern of working closely together has allowed the children to be instructed in the way of their Amish forebears, this way they learn all the essential skills and customs for Amish life. Sadly, some fathers have been forced to go long distances to work in cities and factories in order to provide for their families.
Up until the eighth grade children, attend classes in the morning at a one-room schoolhouse in the settlement. After the eighth grade, it is believed that a child’s next stage of life is better spent near their families learning practical skills and a stronger religious faith. Boys and girls are taught different tasks once their schooling is complete. The girls will learn from their mother housekeeping and child rearing while the boys are off to learn either farming or carpentry with their fathers. When children reach the age of, 16 they are allowed much more freedom. The children are even encouraged to live among the English so that they must choose to live the Amish lifestyle.
Very few young people decide to leave the faith, most choose to live the Amish life and are baptized to symbolize their commitment. They will now seek land and business as close as they can to home. Amish fathers will continually support their grown sons in purchasing land or a homestead; often it is the youngest who inherits the farm and not the oldest.
Amish elderly are revered in the community and cared for very well most times in their own home. They are set up with a Grossdawdy, which is a small apartment in the farmhouse, fully equipped with a kitchen. Grandparents are afforded independence and privacy while still being active in the family. What is more there is always a horse and buggy at his disposal so he may come and go as he sees fit.