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I admire the hell out of the Amish.

Not for their rejection of modern day technology. That’s insane. When humankind deflects the next planet-killing asteroid from striking the Earth, the Amish can thank their lucky stars that most people moved beyond the horse and buggy a while ago.

No, my admiration is born from the way that they impart their religion and culture onto the young:

The straight-up, bad ass,  open mined confidence of the Rumspringa.

The Rumspringa normally begins around the age of 14 to 16 and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church, or instead leaves the community. 

While the majority choose baptism and remain in the church, some Amish youth do indeed separate themselves from the community, even going to live among the “English”, or non-Amish North Americans, experiencing modern technology and perhaps even experimenting with sex, alcohol, and recreational drugs. Their behavior during this time represents no necessary bar to returning for adult baptism into the Amish church if they choose to one day return to the community.

Allowing the youth to choose baptism in the church?

Encouraging the youth – practically requiring them – to go experience other cultures and beliefs?

Feeling confident enough in your own way of life and respectful enough of personal choice to allow your children to choose their own path in terms of religion, and community?

That is seriously progressive for a people who can’t even listen to a podcast. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories about dumb ass, intolerant parents who disowned their son or daughter for leaving the religion or refusing to attend their child’s interfaith marriage or believing they have any say at all over their child who is now a fully grown adult. 

These Amish have it right:

We’ve offered you a religion and a way of life that we love and embrace. We hope you will love and embrace it, too. Now go forth. Explore the world. See what other possibilities exist in the great unknown. And then come back to us if you so choose. 

The degree of courage, respect, understanding, and open mindedness required to do such a thing is astounding. 

If only every intolerant, dumb ass parent would offer the same choice to their children.