VERTUEUX Thomas TG3
The new threat of the Amish community?
The Amish community is a community from Germany that maintains a lifestyle similar to that of 18th century society. Although they are aware of the development of the world today. The Amish follow very strict rules which consist of follow the Christian religion, limiting contact with the outside world by prohibiting the use of technology and all contemporary objects such as cars or even television. Even so, most young Amish members do not appreciate this way of life and decide to leave the Amish community through an event in their Amish life called Rumspringa.
What is Rumspringa ?
Rumspringa is a period in the life of a young person from the Amish community close to adulthood (between 16-17 years old) that allows them to leave their community, to go discover the outside world and to do what their community would not allow them to do. This period can last from 18 months to 2 years, and the young person must, at the end of the period make a choice between staying in the Amish community or leaving it permanently
Why do people want to leave the Amish Community ?
Most young people decide to leave their community because they find that it is too strict in terms of community rules and that it does not leave them free enough to live their lives as they wish. Many of them are then tempted to leave the community.
Teams from TLC interviewed some of the young people who have left the community to find out what they think, like for example Bates, a 21 years old, and Barbie, a 22.
Bates : « I always had problems with being Amish all my life, I never felt comfortable, I grew up with the feeling I don’t belong here, you actually feel restricted being Amish and I mean I always felt like there’s got to be more out there, I just wanted to get out. »
Barbie « They tell me what to eat, what to wear, what to do, they tell me what question is not to ask, what question i need to ask, it’s just so controlling. We’re not allowed to date until we join church […] I don’t think they should be allowed to tell me when I should date or when I can. I should be able to make those choices on my own and follow my own heart. »
Yet conversely, many people wish to remain in the Amish community.
Why do people want to stay ?
According to the studies carried out, the main reason most people who give up discovering the world and decide to stay in the Amish community are their families who still live in this community. Other reasons may be related to their education, their religion or the way of life they have acquired since childhood. And that they do not want to give up as adults. It was also noted that 90% to 95% of the children in the community stays Amish when they grow up.
Eirene Eicher testified in her book how hard it was for her to leave the Amish community:
« Leaving my Amish world was excrutiatingly painful […] I love my family. They are my world. […] I enjoyed growing up in the Amish Community. I had two brothers who are thirteen months older than me. I loved following them around all over the place down the cow path to bring the cows in for milking […] I dearly loved them both. And absolutely loved all the fun times we had
We can conclude that young people reaching adulthood can no longer abandon their community despite the strict rules because they have been accustomed to this way of life since childhood, not to mention their religion and especially the family.