Years ago, I am parted these words to one of my sons; maybe he’d done poorly on a test he thought he’d aced. “Let’s imagine two boys walking home from school. One of them was a straight A student and the other got so-so grades. A car pulled up driven by a stranger, lowered his window, and beckoned the boys over to speak to him. The straight-A boy approached the car, but the other kept his distance and yelled for help. Which one was smarter?”



During the course of my life I’ve had the privilege of knowing Einstein types who weren’t people-smart. Not that I didn’t appreciate their intelligence, but I recall one in particular whom children and dogs disliked.

Some might assume the Amish aren’t intelligent because they don’t go beyond the eighth grade or take IQ tests. Yet they were able to present their case at the Supreme Court and win when the Wisconsin School Board demanded the Amish send their children to public high school. An Amish friend’s father participated in the trial.


I would never wish to discourage a youth from attending college if that is their passion, and because most likely their job opportunities will diminish without a degree. But do you need a high IQ and college education to run a thriving farm or business without using electricity or modern technology? Knowledge passed through the generations, community, persistence and ingenuity might be the Amish’s best allies. And reading.

One of my favorite Amish publications is Family Life. I love reading the articles and letters to the editor. Each time, I make note of their excellent grammar and expansive vocabulary.


Haven’t we all known so-called intelligent people who have made dumb choices? Who’s smarter? An obedient dog or a standoffish cat? What’s your idea of smart?


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TrilogyCongratulations to Crissy Y. S. for winning the Amish-made potholder from Lancaster County, plus her choice of a signed copy of Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish. Thank you to all who entered and let me know I’m not alone, plus sharing a few good tips!