Traditional Rumspringa in Devil's Playground Documentary

Traditional Rumspringa in Devil's Playground Documentary

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Devil’s Playground is a documentary following the lives of several different Amish teens in LaGrange County, Indiana. The film shows the teens during a period in their lives known as rumspringa. At the age of sixteen, Amish teenagers can leave the Amish world to experience the modern world. The teens stay in this lifestyle until they decide they are ready to be baptized and officially join the Amish church as adults.
The concept of rumspringa is extremely controversial and has many aspects that seem troubling to outsiders. There are several different issues with the tradition of rumspringa. First of all, this time can be very dangerous to the teens. Another issue is parents not intervening in their child’s life at all, even if they are doing highly illegal and dangerous activities. Lastly, there is the worry that their actions during rumspringa will haunt them after they have jointed the Amish church and committed their lives.
Translated literally, rumspringa means “running around”. Amish children turn sixteen and are automatically granted freedom. This time is meant for teens to experience life outside of the Amish culture before they decide to join the Amish church and be baptized. But, this time can be extremely dangerous for them. Before rumspringa, these Amish teens have never been exposed to the activities and materials of the modern world. Gerald Vutzy, a seventeen year old Amish boy shown in the documentary, states that when kids turn sixteen they go crazy because it is all coming to them at once. If experiencing everything for the first time at once can be overwhelming and harmful to the teens. Another young Amish teen shown in the documentary is Faron Voder. Faron is the perfect example of teens taking the wrong turn and getting into dangerous activities during rumspringa. Faron is shown partying on multiple occasions, and it is also shown that he became involved with crystal meth and other illegal drugs. This not only harmed his health, but his life was also threatened.
When teens are getting involved in multiple dangerous activities, parents usually get involved in straightening out their behavior. In this documentary, the parents are rarely shown, and when they are shown, they are not doing anything to stop their child’s behavior. The teens are having parties involving underage drinking, drugs, and other activities in their parent’s backyards. They are allowing illegal activity to go on right outside of their window.

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It is very interesting that the Amish live by such strict rules, but during rumspringa they seem to forget all of their values. The parents also allow for their teenage children to date without any parental supervision. The parents claim they do not condone their activity, yet they are allowing it to happen right under their noses. No matter what religion one is affiliated with, parents should be involved in their child’s life. It is a matter of safety.
Another major issue with rumspringa is the repercussions the teens will face after they join the Amish church. After the teens experience the modern world and all of it’s temptations, going back to the Amish lifestyle can be extremely difficult. As shown in the documentary, most of the teen experiment with drugs and alcohol during rumspringa. Deciding to join the Amish church does not erase the memories of experiences of rumspringa. The teens will always remember what they did during that time, and they will either feel guilty about it, or they will feel the desire to leave the church and go back to that lifestyle.
The Amish are deprived of modern day luxuries, and being exposed to them is not always helpful. The tradition of rumspringa exposes children to many temptations that could potentially ruin their lives. When a child turns sixteen, their parents turn a blind eye to what they do and that can be extremely harmful to the child. Adolescents need rules and direction, and when those are taken away things can get out of control. The logic of rumspringa is understandable, but not logical. Taking away rules from a teenager can endanger their life and lead them down a destructive road.

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