Rumspringa: To be Or Not to be Amish
A revelatory look at Amish youth as they have never been looked at before Rumspringa is a fascinating look at a little-known Amish coming-of-age ritual, the rumspringa—the period of “running around” that begins for their youth at age sixteen. Through vivid portraits of teenagers in Ohio and Indiana, Tom Shachtman
offers an account of Amish life as a mirror to the soul-searching and questing that we recognize as a generally intrinsic part of adolescence.
The trappings of the Amish way of life—the “plain” clothes and electricity-free farms—conceal the communities’ mystery: how they manage to retain their young people and perpetuate themselves generation after generation. The key to this is the rumspringa, when Amish youth are allowed to live outside the bounds of their faith, experimenting with alcohol, premarital sex, trendy clothes, telephones, drugs, and wild parties. By allowing them such freedom, their parents hope they will learn enough to help them make the most important decision of their lives—whether to be baptized as Christians, join the church, and forever give up worldly ways, or to remain out in the world.
In this searching book, Shachtman draws on his skills as a documentarian to capture young people on the cusp of a fateful decision, and to give us an original and deeply affecting portrait of the Amish as a whole.
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Abner adolescence adult American Amish children Amish church Amish community Amish families Amish farmers Amish kids Amish parents Amish schools Amish teenagers Amish youth Anabaptist attend Ausbund bann baptism baptized Beachy Amish become behavior believe bishop boys brother buggy chil child Christian church district clothes daughter DeWayne Donald Kraybill Dortrecht drinking drugs Elkhart County Emma English faith farm Faron father feel friends girlfriend girls Gordonville guys high school Holmes Counties Holmes Morton Indiana individual Jerry Joann Johnny join the church Kathryn Kraybill Lancaster County lives Lydia mainstream Marlys married Maslow Mennonite minister mother neighbors non-Amish Old Order Amish older ordnung party Pennsylvania permitted Phil public school religious rules rumspringa Ruth RV factory says sect Shipshewana shunned sister Smucker springa Stoltzfus Susanne teens things tion Tobias Velda wear weekend woman women young Amish