|Mural at Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center|
Rumspringa, for the most part, relates to weekends. In day-to-day living, parents maintain their control of the family. For example, parents have a voice in what kind of job their young person has and how they spend their money.
When one joins the Amish church, they commit themselves to submission to God and accountability to the brotherhood and the ordnung. The ordnung, usually unwritten, is an agreed-upon set of rules prescribed by the church that governs behavior, dress, and the implementation of, or the forbidding of certain technologies and worldy influences. Only when a young person over age 16 is a church member can they be disciplined. Once a member, violations of the ordnung will result in disciplinary action.
|Depiction of Amish Wedding at Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center|
Rumspringa is not the same for all and does not necessarily mean wild parties, alcohol, drugs, or getting a car. It is simply a term referring to the time period from age 16 until they join the church when a young person is free to socialize, unrestricted, with the young people. Many Amish youths, especially New Order Amish youth, wish to please their parents and elders and maintain an exemplary lifestyle, participating in youth volleyball games, singings, and other wholesome community and social activities.
For others, Rumspringa offers an opportunity for unsupervised weekend socializing, parties, or "whatever." Because they are not church members, parents and the community believe they cannot tell them what to do. Parents and church leaders, who they themselves in their youth, experienced Rumspringa, believe that they cannot forbid it; and the youth would say, "You did it too." In the Amish society, whatever was done by past generations is considered acceptable.
|Enjoying Each Other's Company in Mt. Hope|
Amish youth can choose when they will join the church, not if they want to join. It is the expectation of the parents that their son or daughter will join. Most often Amish young people join the church in preparation for marriage. The parents will not give them a wedding and the church will not marry them if they are not members.
The New Order Amish, who embrace salvation, are more committed to addressing the moral and religious concerns of their youth and emphasize more accountability to God for high moral and spiritual standards. Even though embracing salvation as a free gift, the New Order youth still must follow the traditional expectations of the society - keeping the traditional dress forms, the German dialect, horse and buggy transportation, and a commitment to basic Amish ideology.
Whether Old or New Order, the Amish are concerned that their children and grandchildren not drift into worldly ways. Holmes County Ohio is the largest community of Amish in the world. For in depth research material, visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio, enjoy the 25' historic mural, and avail yourself to the vast resources of books available for purchase.
|Mr. & Mrs. Joe Keim|
Consider a stay at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast where owners, Paul and Loretta will answer your questions about rumspringa.
Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 15, 2011