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Growing Up Amish

, 400 pages

12 halftones

January 2014



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Growing Up Amish

The Rumspringa Years

second edition

On the surface, it appears that little has changed for Amish youth in the past decade: children learn to work hard early in life, they complete school by age fourteen or fifteen, and a year or two later they begin Rumspringa—that brief period during which they are free to date and explore the outside world before choosing whether to embrace a lifetime of Amish faith and culture.

But the Internet and social media may be having a profound influence on significant numbers of the Youngie, according to Richard A. Stevick, who says that Amish teenagers are now exposed to a world that did not exist for them only a few years ago. Once hidden in physical mailboxes, announcements of weekend parties are now posted on Facebook. Today, thousands of Youngie in large Amish settlements are dedicated smartphone and Internet users, forcing them to navigate carefully between technology and religion. Updated photographs throughout this edition of Growing Up Amish include a screenshot from an Amish teenager's Facebook page.

In the second edition of Growing Up Amish, Stevick draws on decades of experience working with and studying Amish adolescents across the United States to produce this well-rounded, definitive, and realistic view of contemporary Amish youth. Besides discussing the impact of smartphones and social media usage, he carefully examines work and leisure, rites of passage, the rise of supervised youth groups, courtship rituals, weddings, and the remarkable Amish retention rate. Finally, Stevick contemplates the potential of electronic media to significantly alter traditional Amish practices, culture, and staying power.

Richard A. Stevick is a professor emeritus of psychology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

"The author deftly interweaves the pressures to conform to the fabric of Amish life, highlighting the roles of religion, school, family, and community. The book provides an overview of Amish adolescence and also serves as a more general primer for Amish life."

"In Stevick's engaging narrative, he profiles the religious foundation of the Amish, its history, culture and schooling, the Amish at work and play, the tradition of weekly singing, and dating and courtship."

"So why do so many Amish teens choose to remain within the Amish fold rather than pursue greater freedom outside the community? The answer can be found in Stevick's book."

"A pleasurable read and responsible treatment of an interesting subject. Stevick manages to both dissolve idyllic and naive notions of Amish life and at the same time show respect and grant insight into the reality of it."

"Another in a very long line of superbly written, scholarly accounts of Amish life published by the Johns Hopkins University Press... A rigorously researched, well-organized, and clearly written study. Due to rapid population increase, the Amish will be a growing part of the rural scene in twenty-first century America, and for us outsiders to understand them with accuracy and compassion, we need to read, consult, and refer to books like Growing Up Amish."

"This work will become an important classic in the field of Amish and Anabaptist studies. Highly recommended."

"Should be required reading for anyone within Amish studies... Engaging, forthright in a fashion that rings authentic, a truth-telling..."