Also known as jumping or hopping around, Rumspringa is an Amish tradition which gives teenagers the freedom to explore the world and traditions outside of their Amish community. It is a rite of passage or coming of age for these adolescents. The rules vary across different Amish communities. But Rumspringa usually begin at age sixteen, and last for approximately two years.
Teens can do anything with their lives during this period. Some learn to drive and even get formal education. And it is quite the norm for them to have wild parties, and drink more than their fare share of beer.
The purpose of this jumping and hopping around is to get them to want to commit themselves to the Amish faith. The truth is that a few teens choose not to return. But the majority usually choose to return to their Amish roots. Those who do not return, will have to leave home and venture off into the world. But for those who stay, they make a decision to turn their backs on worldly activities and surrender to the Amish faith.
What makes so many teens return to what seems to be their very unadventurous Amish roots? Here are three shocking truths.
Rumspringa gives them the chance to take their own lives into their hands. They get to decide what they do. And this goes a far way in making such a decision of whether to return or not. When an individual feels forced to do something, being rebellious comes naturally. So putting freedom in the hands of these teens make them happy to come back home. Psychology plays a great role in helping Amish youth to return to their community, feeling and knowing that they are willingly and without force choosing their own fate.
It is quite normal to miss a lifestyle that you have been deeply in when you are engaged in other activities that take you away from that. Human beings find it hard to know the value of something until they don’t have it anymore. Rumspringa teaches this lesson quite right. During Rumspringa, not all teens live away from home. Some still live at home, and parental control is lifted on weekends. Either way, while these teens are exploring, they get to see their families and Amish traditions with different eyes. The possibility of leaving their Amish community for good is being explored, which creates a little distance in their hearts. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. And nostalgia brings those hearts right back to their Amish roots.
Having knowledge is power. When you are familiar with only one way of life, you will keep wondering about what else this world has to offer. Thinking about all sorts of possibilities become a constant habit. And most experiences in this world will seem grand and exciting until you experience them for yourself. Then some things that seemed larger than life itself before experiencing them become microscopic from your viewpoint after you become familiar with them. This is common among human beings. While on Rumspringa, these Amish teens get first hand experience of the outside world. And knowing what the outside world has to offer makes it less enticing, as it is no longer a mystery to them.
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