Rumspringa

Ok, first thing’s first. Plotted and brainstormed the story and I’m almost there. Morning, noon, night thinking about it.  I’m making progress. Things are finally coming together and I think the whole series will be pretty darn good. I’m excited.

 

Watched Wipeout and I survived a Japanese Game Show last night. Two thumbs up. During Wipeout I had to pause the TV and run to the bathroom I was laughing so hard and I Survived a Japanese Game Show is like Survivor on Crack. But I’m not blogging about those today.

I saw ABCs PrimeTime Oustider’s show and was glued to the TV for another hour. For me it was probably the most memorable story I’ve ever seen on ABC and when I went to bed I still couldn’t stop thinking of it. It was about a group of Amish teens in Ashland County Ohio and their journey to adulthood as they experienced Rumspringa, the time when they are allowed leave the community and experience the modern world. It last for about a year and Amish teens are 17 when this happens but they are allowed the to experiment with all the modern conveniences and culture that we take for granted everyday. After the end of the year they must make a gut wrenching decision to either come back to the Amish community or exile themselves away from their family and friends and forge a new life in a modern world.

This show had me riveted to the TV because I know so little about the Amish culture beyond the basics-that these are God fearing, generous people who have decided technology and certain liberties we don’t even bat and eyelash at are not for their way of life. I had no idea they had this Rumspringa thing.

One of the kids they followed had about a $1,000 worth of sub-woofers, and stereo equipment in his buggy. It was surreal to watch him ride down the road in an 18th century looking carriage, crop in hand listening to AC/DC.

The show also followed a teen who ran a way from home and was assisted by other Amish teens living in a church funded Amish half-way house. He ended up in jail for 30 days for burning his uncle’s buggy as he tried to adjust to the outside world.

During an unprecedented interview, one of the Amish elders said that during his Rumspringa he owned a 1964 T-Bird which he had fond memories of and missed.

They followed 4 teens for over a year and it was heart wrenching and fascinating to watch, listen, and absorb their very adult situation and ultimate choice they had to make. Maybe because they all came from very good and loving families and were torn between growing in a different direction from their culture but respecting it enough to know what they must give up to do so.

At the end of the show they said 8 out of 10 teens return, and two of them including the kid with stereo sized buggy did go back to the community.

What and eye-opening show.  

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3 Responses to “Rumspringa”

  1. I saw that same show last night and I totally agree with you. It was both fascinating and educational. Besides the stories themselves, what kept me spellbound was the way that they talked. Don’t think I’ve ever heard a tone or speech pattern quite like it.

    There is another one-hour show coming on tonight at 9 PM on the NCG (or maybe it’s NGC?) channel. (Not sure what it stands for…? Maybe National Geographic?) It’s called “The Devil’s Playground.” The synopsis sounds similar to the one last night:

    “The Amish allow their young people, at 16, to experience life in the outside world before having to decide whether or not to join the church.”

    I’m going to watch to see if I can learn anything further.

    DL

  2. How fascinating! Wish I’d seen it. It sounds really interesting.

  3. Wow! That was so interesting! I heard about Rumspringa when it was featured on Cold Case. Wondered how many returned to their old way of life.

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