Recently as I was browsing through a bookstore I picked up an Amish fiction book and flipped through it a little. Every page had Pennsylvania Dutch words sprinkled on it and somehow my eyes were always drawn to those first.
One phrase that jumped out at me was gut man.* Basic translation = good man. The reason this stood out to me so much was that no Amish person will ever call someone a gut man, because that is what they call God.
Reading that simple sentence where the main character had been saying that someone was a good man got me thinking of the difference between mainstream America and the Amish culture.
In main stream America it isn't unusual hearing someone make remarks like, "He's a good person." or even "I'm a good person." Compliments seem to flow freely, and sometimes I have to doubt their sincerity. Praise for accomplishments is the norm.
This all took time getting used to when we left the Amish. It was basically unheard of hearing someone describe a person as being good. Compliments weren't used freely. A woman could be well known through out the community for being an excellent cook or baker, but no one would tell her so in person. Someone else could be known to be the best when it comes to raising crops and farming to the extent that others watch when he mows hay and then mow theirs on the same day because he always managed to get his made without rain, but no one would tell him he is good at what he does. The best seamstress in the community could be busy with orders for bonnets and coverings because hers always turn out perfect. Women will talk about her talent only when she isn't present.
I remember the time when I still a little girl, and I painted something. It turned out better than I thought it would and I was very pleased. Mom and Daddy acknowledged it, but when I said something about how pretty I thought it was they reminded me of Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth;
My view on praise and compliments has changed since leaving the Amish. Right now I would say we're caught somewhere in the middle. We do way more than the Amish, but still less than a lot of other people.
* Pennsylvania Dutch lesson for the day. Gut man is pronounced like this ...... gut rhymes with boot. Man rhymes with fun. If you ever hear an Amish person say Gut Man., they will be talking about God.