Rumspringa: Amish Teens Venture into Modern Vices When Amish children turn 16, the rules change. They're encouraged to experiment and explore. The idea is that teens will come back to the church after tasting the modern world. A new book explores this ritual, called rumspringa.

Rumspringa: Amish Teens Venture into Modern Vices

Rumspringa: Amish Teens Venture into Modern Vices

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5455572/5455582" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tom Shachtman is the author of more than two dozen books. Mark Connolly hide caption

toggle caption
Mark Connolly

When Amish children turn 16, the rules change. They're encouraged to experiment and explore. The idea is that teens will come back to the church after tasting the modern world. For most, this means a tentative foray -- a trip to the local movie theater, or driving lessons. But for some, the experience, called rumspringa, is all about sex, parties and fast cars.

Tom Shachtman's new book Rumspringa: To Be or Not To Be Amish had its beginnings in the research done for the documentary film Devil's Playground. Shachtman talks about how rumspringa works and what parents can learn from the Amish practice.

Clips from Devil's Playground

Rumspringa
To Be or Not to Be Amish
By Tom Shachtman

Buy Featured Book

Title
Rumspringa
By
Tom Shachtman

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?