The Amish do it right.

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Real Life
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As is the case in many societies, Amish adolescents may engage in rebellious behavior, resisting or defying parental norms. In many cultures, enforcement may be relaxed, and misbehavior tolerated or overlooked to a degree. A view of rumspringa has emerged in popular culture that this divergence from custom is an accepted part of adolescence or a rite of passage for Amish youth. Among the Amish who use this term, however, rumspringa simply refers to adolescence. – Wikipedia

I suppose that what comes to mind when I think of rumspringa is the pop culture view of being unleashed into the world for a time and experiencing secular society.  This weekend, I’ve been reviewing some old journals of mine as part of a personal project. They’re from my early twenties, and, as I read, I wonder how my life might have been different if I had taken a personal rumspringa.

Of course, most of my trouble (for lack of a better word) came not just from my “society” but from my own decisions in trying to be devoted. I think part of my problem is that I lacked a bad influence. I didn’t have a yin to my yang. I primarily hung out with people that had the same beliefs as me and then tried to be the best I could, which took me in a more extreme direction. I also had the extra pressure of being a leader at church, so I felt compelled to set a good example.

Even if I had taken a break from church, I’m not sure that my personal beliefs at the time would have allowed me much freedom from unnecessary guilt. Perhaps if I had gone away to college and experienced a new beginning things may have been different. Instead, I stayed in town with no great aspirations for college. Well, I take that back. I did want to go to seminary at some point, which would have taken me away but it wouldn’t have really put me in a different culture.

I suppose, based upon my personal experience, I would encourage kids that are graduating from high school to leave town to go to college if at all possible. It’d be a great way to find out who they are apart from the influences of their more impressionable years.


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