Thursday, July 21, 2016

Crossing Your Arms

Sometimes I take for granted our children know way more about the Amish and the many accepted yet unspoken traditions, than they actually do.

Somehow I forget they were only 2, 4, and 6 when we left that culture.

This morning Rosebud and I had a discussion on crossing your arms. I couldn't remember ever seeing her with her arms crossed and I don't know why, but it made me feel just a little sad.

Growing up every proper, well mannered Amish girl always stood with her arms crossed in church, or anywhere when her hands weren't occupied doing something, but especially on Sundays. It was considered ladylike and respectful, unlike some of the women who had the unfavorable habit of resting their hands on their hips.

It's one of the things I have stopped doing since leaving the Amish. Funny how in one culture something is consider proper and respectful, while in another culture it's considered rude.


  1. Among the "English", crossing your arms is rather passive-aggressive. One of the teachers with whom my mother worked wrote a poem about her students. "They fold their arms and stare at you./ "Teach me", they say. "I dare you to." To stand and speak to or with you clergy with your arms folded would be VERY rude.

  2. I agree with Lady Anne. How interesting how the different cultures are. It's wonderful that you're teaching your children your family and cultural traditions.

  3. Very interesting and I can see the reasoning behind the Amish tradition. Crossed arms are rather confrontational in the " English " traditions. Perhaps the Amish subscribe to another idea I often heard from my Grandmother. Idle hands do the devils' work

  4. That is so interesting and my thoughts lean toward the other comments above. Crossing your arms to us is somewhat of a sign of some stubbornness and balking about doing something. I would think having your hands folded together in your lap would be more respectful.

    1. During church services when the women sit, they normally had their hands in their lap.

  5. Wow, I never would have guessed arm positions had such deep meanings! : ) I feel like I'm always trying to figure out what to do with mine (on the rare occasions that I'm not holding a baby or otherwise occupied). Maybe I'll have to try a "non-confrontational" cross. : )

  6. My brother and his family are Mormon, and they all cross their arms when they pray. Somehow I also knew that Amish girls crossed their arms as a form of respect. Whenever I cross my arms simply for the fact that it's a comfortable way to stand, I always think, "I'm not being rude or stand-offish! I'm showing respect like the Amish and Mormons!" :)

  7. Hands on hips was always considered very rude when I was growing up and maybe another way of showing defiance. I still seldom, if ever, stand with my hands on my hips.


  8. Thank you for this tip. I don't know what pose I have taken up until now on the arms thing, but I plan to make sure my stance is not holding my hips around our Amish neighbors. Politeness never hurts.

  9. Cultural differences are so interesting and can so easily lead to misunderstandings.

  10. Thought provoking post! I hadn't thought of it in years, but I remember my mom telling me that hands on hips was rude and that no one wanted "to see elbows stuck out like that!"

    My sister-in-law once told me that the most stubborn people in their congregation (my brother was the pastor) sat with their arms folded and "appeared" to be thinking, "I dare you to teach ME something new!" I'm sure it was coupled with facial expressions, too.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.