Coming June 1, 2014!

I’ve heard people who dwell in close-knit communities or are members of a group of like-minded thinkers enjoy longevity and experience more satisfaction in life. Intrigued, I investigated on the Internet, but came up empty, although states that people who attend church live longer. Finally, I contacted a librarian, who sent several articles. According to an in-depth study, what researchers label social capital (personal relationships and interaction) is more valuable than gold. Marriage reigns at the pinnacle of perceived happiness, then good health, and employment. But social capital is king.

My town, Seattle, is apparently the least churched city in America, and there are more dogs than children. I don’t doubt it. This region is the opposite of an Amish community. Amish life centers around following the teachings of the Bible, and child-rearing and families. One room school houses dot the landscape rather than retirement homes.

Folks in Seattle love their dogs!

Childrearing in Amish families, where both parents often work at home, is radically different than career-oriented families whose young children spend their days in daycare. Amish are more likely to marry and live in large households. Many homes include a Daadi Haus, a smaller structure attached to the main house for the grandparents.

Lancaster County, PA Farm

In Amish communities, extended family members might live across the road or on the next field. I told my husband last week I would not be opposed to having his mother move into a Daadi Haus if our house were configured that way. In the past, when our kids were young, we would’ve had built in babysitters, and now that my mother-in-law is older, we would be close-by to care for her. Fortunately, we get along beautifully.

But what if we didn’t? Imagine, a lifetime living in proximity with a relative who rubbed you the wrong way. How would you manage? Grin and bear it? Learn tolerance? For the most part, aren’t we all a little too independent these days? Or does absence indeed make the heart grow fonder?

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Congratulations to Rita M., last week’s winner of the darling towel and a copy of either Leaving Lancaster or Pennsylvania Patchwork! Thanks to everyone who left a comment!