In Section 2: Growing, Eric gets to know the men in their community a lot better. When Eric goes to his first barn raising he not only gets to know many of the men and starts to feels like he's become a little more part of the community, but he also learns that he and his wife, Mary, aren't the only ones that argue about duties.
He also learns a lot more about individuals' beliefs and how they differ from one another, some leaning towards the more conservative and traditional religious ideals, while others are just more interested in the lifestyle and less on the strict religious aspect.
On the more practical side, Eric also finds that their milk cow is producing far more milk than they can consume either as cheese or in liquid form. Without a fridge, preserving it becomes a problem and, rather than throw it out, the neighbors' suggest they get a pig to take care of the extra.
In the first chapter in this section, Mary finds out that she's pregnant and becomes rather homesick. They take a road trip to scout out areas that they might end up once their 18 months are up but aren't satisfied with any of the places they visit.
Upon their return they decide to visit the local church in hopes of feeling more connected with the community. They were somewhat surprised at how interminable the service was but they felt like they were accepted into the group even though they clearly didn't belong. During the long service, a child begins wailing and the mother immediately takes it outside and spanks the girl for all to hear and the author offers some insight into the occasion:
What about this practice of spanking cranky children in church? I didn't dwell on it at the time, but later I reflected a little. For the most part, these young ones are supremely well-behaved. The reason is manifest. In the strict German tradition of child-rearing, which these immigrant-descendants retain, disobedience to parental will is simply not tolerated. The slightest lapse or transgression is roundly rewarded, so it takes only a few lessons before the child wises up. This unflinching submission to authority may help to explain why even Amish adults submit meekly to the regimentation of Old Order groups.
1. Were you surprised at Mary's pregnancy? Did you think that it would prevent them from finishing their stay?
2. When they were disappointed with the cities they visited when scouting out a place to live after the 18 months are done, did you think they would stay where they are or move out of the area as soon as possible?
3. What did you think about the whole section on spanking the kids in church? Is it something you agree with or not?
4. Eric argues that, in order to embrace simplicity, going motorless is critical. That the hidden costs of automated devices goes hand in hand with an upward spiral of material wants. Do you agree? Are machines the gateway drug to excessive materialism?
5. In this section, Cornelius claims that you couldn't do what they do without Christianity. That living simply would have no value without Christianity. What do you think?