An Amish Bachelor's Life
I am now 23 years old with no girlfriend. I think I remember reading somewhere that the average Amish boy marries at age 22 and the girls usually hitch up at about 20. Given that most Amish couples go steady for approximately two years before tying the knot, that puts me about three years behind at the moment. To me, that’s no big deal. To my darling sister, it’s time to panic!
Grace was not only expressing her frustration with me, she was also thinking of our three siblings between us in age, Justin and Emily, 21-year-old twins, and Johnny, who is 19. The four of us are all single. While Grace thinks something must be wrong, I will confess I feel less urgency to have a girlfriend than I did five years ago. Perhaps I’m having too much fun!
Before we go any further, I should tell you that I am the eldest of nine children. It is as an auctioneer, teacher, and construction worker that I spend my time.
Teaching is a full-time job during the school year, and it is during the summer that I do construction work. I enjoy all three jobs but auctioneering is my favorite.
An auctioneer is what I have wanted to be since I was about five years old. My father would take me to the Mt. Hope horse sale in Mt. Hope, Ohio, where Dean Beachy and Jake Slabaugh were the auctioneers. My dad is a farrier (someone who puts shoes on horses), and his shop was right across the street from the auction barn in Mt. Hope.
On sale days I would travel with my dad the five miles from our home in Benton, Ohio to his shop in Mt. Hope. Early mornings, before the sale started, I would “help” Dad in the shop until it was time. Eagerly I would run across the street to the horse sale.
I guess it was while sitting in the Mt. Hope sale barn that the idea became fixed in my mind that selling horses would be the idea career to have. While at home, I would spend hours standing on the platform of our child’s slide in my front yard “selling” thousands of horses. My microphone was a blue and yellow plastic toy hammer that had gotten chewed on by the dog. This hammer doubled as the gavel as well. Precious memories.
In October of 2005 I attended, and had a blast at, Reppert School of Auctioneering. The next month I took the Indiana state exam and acquired my license to auctioneer. I won’t say I lived happily ever after, but I have had a lot of fun since then.
Teaching school was not so much something I dreamed about growing up. Three men, one of whom was my uncle, approached me one spring asking me to teach eight grades in an Amish one-room schoolhouse. A tremendous challenge is what it looked like. I had never attended an Amish school growing up, but after picking my hat up off the ground (my hair shooting straight up had sent it flying), I eventually accepted.
When I was asked recently why I accepted this teaching job I had a hard time explaining why. Perhaps it was the Hand of God; I hope so. Six weeks into my first school term [when Loren wrote this article] I do not regret being a teacher. It is difficult to put into words the rewards a teacher experiences. One reward in particular comes to mind: the facial expression of a first-grader overcome with delight when I drew a beard on his smiley face at the chalk board.
Teaching eight grades is challenging and the pay is meager, but so far it looks worthwhile. The rewards keep coming even years after a teacher leaves the classroom, I would imagine. Seems to me it would be quite gratifying to witness former pupils’ successes and think maybe you had a small hand in it.
Not only successes in worldly endeavors though, if students would experience the “New Birth” of Jesus Christ, I think that would be above and beyond any other pay or reward for a Christian teacher.