Written by RINGUET Jean-Conrad
Rumspringa is a word use by Amish people who means “run around” in their language. Rumspringa concerned every Amish people from 17-18 years old, it is a period where they are allowed to explore life outside of their closed society. It is like the test period, as when Jesus was sent in the desert for 40 days. They will be confronted to discover some things they should not supposed to do. This can last from 1 8 months to 2 years, but at the end of this period they will have to make a decision: to stay and to become a full member of the church or to leave the community.
Who is the Amish people?
The Amish people is a community who lives in Lancaster country, Pennsylvania. The Amish are Protestants who find their origin in Swiss German, they began emigrating to North America early in the 18th century; they first settled in eastern Pennsylvania, where a large settlement remains. They live like people did centuries ago, they generate their own electricity like wind power, solar power and generator. They have their own school because of social segregation. There are three values that define the Amish community: “simple living, plain dressing, and avoidance of modern technologies.” They are also known for not using car, truck, watching TV, having a smartphone, etc.…
Amish Teens Make Choice of Lives
Lina is 18 years old and is allowed to explore the outside world with two of her Amish friends, Mark and Sam.
Mark is 19 years old when is parents authorized him to go in Rumspringa and Sam is 17 years old. They went in England to experiment this adventure, precisely in the South of London. The three Amish teenagers have met teenagers in the outside world where they have been confronted to a lot of temptations.
Sam is the one who has been easily comfortable with the outside world. He said that he did not feeling well in the Amish community because of the strict rules. Indeed, he felt free during Rumspringa because he was himself for the first time. The Amish will say that he has been influenced by the modern life, but that is what Sam wants. Sam have said that he was finally happy around his new friends and new activities he has discovered. Unfortunately, the hardest part is coming…Sam has to make a decision, it is the decision of his life.
When Mark was arrived in London, he was impressed by the world, buildings, cars, people…everything was huge compared to his little farm where they are just a little group of people. Nevertheless, he did not like it because they were noise everywhere. He only stayed 6 months and after that decided to stay in the Amish community and to become a full member of the church after being baptized. Also, he wanted to return to is little life because he did not like the technologies of the outside world and the way of life, we were more stressed and rapid according to him.
Lina is the only girl of the Amish group who went into Rumspringa, but already before going through this she knew she wanted to leave this community. Indeed, she was not feeling good in her community and even in her family. She did not want to be a housemaker all her life, it does not right to live in a place where there are some discriminations about gender. Since her childhood, she was against this way of life, this test period was the time she waited for her all life. Arrived in London, Lina have met a lot of friends, she changed her dress style, she bought a smartphone. She was pleased to discover a new life and felt the freedom coming towards her. She even started school to follow her dream job and to because successful.
Sam still do not know what decision make between stay or leaving his community. It is a hard decision to make because of the consequences who can impact his life. Sam do not want to disappoint his parents, but he does not feel comfortable in this community without any freedom. He wants to leave and start a new life to follow his dreams. His decision will be hard to make.
Mark has already choose his future to decide to stay in the Amish community, which is well form him.
Finally, Lina have chosen to leave the Amish community even if it can disappoint her parents. She wants to be happy in her life and to be free. Unfortunately, the only way to be free and happy for her, is to leave the community and never come back.