Regarding the Ominous Predictions about Your Children by Your Still-Amish Family

The Amish Papers - Chapter 17

Those who leave the Amish will inevitably be told by well-meaning family members that their children will ultimately “go to the world.” That danger, of course, does exist. But it is not inevitable, as has been proven plenty of times. This word of encouragement to Amish-background parents was posted on Facebook on 12/3/22.

“Just wait and see. Since you’ve left the Amish, all your children will go to the world.”

Many former Amish folks have heard that threatening forecast from their still-Amish relatives and families. It is usually followed by solemn examples of children who “went to the dogs” when their parents left the Amish.

Most ex-Amish parents considered that risk before they defected, and they decided it was worth taking the chance. The alternative was to stay in the Amish Prison and continue raising little prisoners—who would one day be adult prisoners who could then start raising some little prisoners of their own.

Of course, if you want to control people’s behavior, prison is a great place to do that. You may have noticed that no prisoner ever robbed a bank as long as he was in prison. If you put prisoners in solitary confinement, you can even keep them from punching fellow prisoners. If you tape their mouths shut, you can keep them from using curse words. There is no end to how “holy” you can force people to be…all you need is enough restraint.

I hope by now you are chuckling, and I hope you noticed that the word “holy” in my last sentence was in quotation marks. That is because imposed holiness is not holiness at all. It is coercion. No one finds any virtue in prison inmates who don’t rob banks while they are in prison.

You may have noticed that God has placed us all in an environment that is not void of temptation. From the Garden of Eden, He has allowed the devil to tempt people (but with limitations). Free moral agents must be tested. Thus the reason for the “forbidden fruit.”

Parents, however, can take a tip from God, who promised His children that He will never “allow [them] to be tempted beyond what [they] are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that [they] will be able to endure it” (1Cor. 10:13). All Christian parents must determine the right balance of protection from, and exposure to, temptation for their children, based on their ages and maturity. The goal is to prepare them to one day “leave the nest,” equipped to resist temptation and follow Jesus—because they love Him. (By contrast, if you are Amish, the goal is to prepare your children for life sentences in prison…Amish Prison, that is.)

Along those lines, should your children be educated in home school, private Christian school, or public school?

Personally, I recommend the protection of the first two options for as long as possible. Some say those options are “over-protection,” but neighborhood hoodlums and Sunday school gangsters will usually provide your children with ample exposure to the contrast between darkness and light. And please note that Jesus only sent adults out to evangelize the world, calling even them “lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3). God is not calling your children to win the heathen; He is calling you to “bring [your children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

So don’t fear your still-Amish family members’ pernicious predictions regarding your precious children. Let your children see you obey your Lord Jesus every day, and teach them God’s Word. They will follow your example and one day raise your grandchildren the same way!