What the Amish Can Teach Us About Communication

What the Amish Can Teach Us About Communication

I really respect the Amish. If anyone knows about living a ‘simple’ life, it’s them. But there’s more than that. It’s about what they value. They keep God first, and second after God is their community.

They look out for each other. They help each other. They’ve got each other’s back.

The PBS show American Experience  recently aired a documentary about the Amish. When describing their adverse reaction to having a telephone, it had little to do with ‘cutting off the outside world’ and more to do with protecting their community.

But that doesn’t make sense, you say. A telephone helps bring people closer together. You can pick it up and call someone any time. You can talk to people more often.

Right?

The Amish gentlemen disagrees. He says that when you pick up the phone to make a quick call, you’re less likely to visit the person. He values a face-to-face visit more than a quick phone call.

Now think of that in light of today’s cell phones. Sure… texting and messaging keeps you in constant contact with the people you love.

Or does it?

Perhaps every text or quick message is taking away from a more meaningful conversation. Can we look into one another’s eyes with a text? Can we see facial expressions or mannerisms? Can we touch? Or hug?

If most of our communication as humans is actually non-verbal, then how much are we missing by texting instead of visiting face-to-face?

And ironically, when we do visit, we spend most of our time on our phones texting other people.

Where is the connection in that?

So, even if just for today, when you have a conversation with someone you care about, be there.