Friday, February 24, 2006

More Thoughts on "The Good Old Days"

In the back of my mind all day today has been thoughts regarding the "Good Old Days". My son Steven took out the whole family for lunch today. He has a heart of gold. 21 years old and serious natured like a man. He sat there so happy to be treating us all to lunch and sitting next to his sisters, laughing and being "the big brother", even though he is younger than both of them. I was watching him and my husband and listening to their talk and hearing in their conversation, and watching in their mannerisms. They are really living proof that you can take the "good" from the "Good Old Days" and be a part of modern times. Neither of them use any slang, not one word. Not even the phrase "kids" for children. They both have old fashioned values and ethics. They work when they are sick, work when they are tired and don't say unkind things or have a temper. They cherish family and love God without feeling silly for doing so. Now, my husband is a bit more old fashioned than my son. Steven likes technology and since Emery never grew up with it, its just not a part of his life and he is still getting used to using a computer.
The cordless phone with all its features is still somewhat of a mystery to him. He is a man that can build anything and fix just about any machine there is. He can plow a field and milk a cow, yet still knows how to run an office.
I watched the two of them with these thoughts mingling androlling around in my head. My girls are modern through and through. College did that to them. They know all the latest music, movies and technology. They use modern terms that have us asking, " what are you talking about?"
The lifestyle I live and seek more of, is one of stepping back and looking for the good we have misplaced in todays society. I want to hold on with all my being the things that were once sure and certain. I want kindness to remain, and predictable behaviors. I want to see value placed on the things that really matter. Not money or possessions.

I want less stress, less rushing. More respect for age and all that comes with it. A moral code that is includes honor.
I believe it is those very things, that draw so many to the plain people. To the conservative Mennonites and Amish folk. In not buying in to the ways of the world, these folks have held on to the very things so many of us seek. Yet, so many are not willing to sacrifice what it takes to live that kind of life. We just wish for the same benefits. Its not just their "quaint" life style that intrigues so many, its how they treat one another also. In the pictures you see the men of the community building on a room for our house. We needed to enlarge the room for bible studies and we could afford the supplies so they came and built the room and later a second room. Community. Christian brotherhood. Kindness without any motive other than to help. That is the sort of thing we all want. But with television and movies and the like bombarding us with just the opposite types of behavior, we get lost. We feel like we don't want anyone to walk on us so we get hard. We demand this or that. We get used to seeing violence and accept it as the way things are in this world.
In the Mennonite and Amish church, they don't press charges if someone steals from them or hurts them. There is NO revenge or feelings of "its my right". They live by a code of "heaping coals" as it says in the Bible. Repay evil with good.
As I watched my plain men sitting next to me today, I was thankful for their "backward" ways and their not so modern dress. And I realized that people are fascinated with the Amish and the Mennonite folk in part because they still maintain the very things we wish for and work towards when we say things like "back in the old days".
Just a side note here. Both times the men from the community helped us build, the girls and I sure had fun cooking for all of them. Nothing like 20 or so hungry men and boys to feed !

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