We would like to take this space to publicly welcome the Yoder family and their soon-to-arrive Amish neighbors to Lincoln County.
We are glad to have you.
We welcome the Amish community for some selfish reasons.
The Amish community will help revitalize agriculture in Lincoln County as many of our farmers grow old and retire, more and more often with no one to take over their farms.
The Amish community is already contributing to the local economy as families buy farmland and build new barns and homes.
But there are other reasons we welcome these new families.
It seems to us we could all learn a few things from the Amish.
We will admit that our “knowledge” of the Amish faith comes from depictions in pop culture, plus the article on the front page of this newspaper and a few other news items about the Amish in Maine – both the families arriving in Lincoln County and the older, larger community up north.
But we don’t think we need to be experts to know the Amish have figured out a few things that elude the rest of us.
Like hard work. The Yoders built their barn (and present home) in 20 days. In Damariscotta, we have been trying to build a half-mile sidewalk for the better part of a decade and have yet to break ground.
Like humility. In the age of selfies, when everyone and their grandma is eagerly photographing themselves and posting their latest self-portraits on social media, there is something refreshing about people who do not take photos, do not own photos, and will not pose for photos.
Like community. We help each other out, sure, but not in the same way. We make a donation. We drop off a meal. We pay our taxes, so we expect the government to help our neighbors when they fall on hard times. We don’t, by and large, build each other’s homes.
Like harmony with nature. Does one person need to commute to work in a Suburban or a Yukon? We don’t think of ourselves as radical environmentalists, but really? The Yoders have 10 kids and drive a buggy!
Like self-sufficiency. We have all become dependent on something. Maybe it’s the government. Maybe it’s technology. Maybe it’s our employer or our family. If we woke up tomorrow and there was no electricity, no computers, and no internet, how many of us could simply go about our lives as usual? How many would be in a state of panic?
We believe we should welcome folks who are different from us regardless of where they come from or what religion they adhere to.
But the Amish in particular seem well-suited to Lincoln County, and also bring the potential to remind us of some of our own traditions, and maybe help restore a sense of community among ourselves in a time of increasing isolation.