Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: More Than Happy

This is my first time being a parent, and I'm still trying to get the hang of it. We've read our fair share of parenting books, always looking for helpful ideas and advice from "the experts." So when Howard Books told me about a new book they had coming out about Amish parenting, I was definitely interested. I read my first Amish fiction book last year, when I reviewed Serena Miller's Fearless Hope.  As Miller did her research in Holmes County, Ohio for the Amish fiction stories she writes, she began to notice that all the Amish children she'd observed were well-behaved and seemed very happy. This lead her to do a little more research and write her new book, More Than Happy: the Wisdom of Amish Parenting. 

"Despite having no modern toys and conveniences, the Amish children she saw were joyful, serene, calm, and respectful--not to mention able to whip up full meals and drive buggies before most of us will allow our children to walk to school alone. But when she started asking questions abut what Amish parents were doing differently, she was startled to learn that happiness is not a goal the Amish strive for at all--and yet it's the end result."

Miller takes a good look at how Amish parenting differs from typical "Englisch" parenting. One of the things I like about this book is that Miller is exploring and asking questions of her Amish friends throughout. It's refreshing to read a book about parenting in which the author is not claiming to have it all figured out, rather she's discovering something that's working well  for many families and researching why that is. 

Miller talks about community, education, faith, discipline, and how each plays into raising these happy children. Here's a few lines that I loved:

"I quickly realized that Amish parenting is not a "method"; it is the culmination of many beliefs deeply held by the entire community."
"In addition to a paycheck, we long for some validation in the form of prestige or identity, or at least some purpose....On the other hand, Amish people seldom equate their identity with their work. To the Amish, a job is a job."
"Amish families worship God and God alone, and that helps them keep their children centered and balanced. Amish children are loved and they are given plenty of attention, but they learn early on that they are not the center of the universe."

This book really gave me a lot of things to ponder. And I love the things it made me examine in my own parenting. I wish I had read it sooner. I would highly recommend it to any other amateur parents out there, like myself. : )

You can order it here, or look for it this week in bookstores.

Happy reading, and happy parenting!


Just so you know...
I received a free copy of More Than Happy from Howard Books for my honest review. The opinions I write here are mine, because it's my blog.


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