No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don't ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson
When I was speaking about my experiences with the Swartzentruber Amish - and their runaways - an audience member asked about the family financial practices.
"Do Amish parents keep their children's income," she inquired.
Interesting curiosity. I can't answer for other orders but, within the strict Swartzentruber Amish - the answer is . . .
Yes! The general rule is children give all earned income to parents - namely the dad - until a child turns 21-years-old. That rule or practice may vary slightly with different families. For example, one family may say the children get to keep earned income from Saturday work.
Wow, with a family of 12 employed kids, that could be a pretty hefty income.
Mosie is the middle child of 12 and told me that when his siblings earned any money from jobs, they had to turn over the income to his dad. "The only thing I could keep was when I got a tip," he explained.
Mosie left his upstate New York Swartzentruber settlement when he was 18-years-old. We met shortly after he left, he lived with us for a year, and celebrated a couple birthdays with us before moving away to North Carolina.
One reason he resisted the urge to return Amish was because he said his dad would make him return any money he'd earned on the outside.
"You mean your dad would insist you financially make up for leaving the Amish?" I asked. Retroactive payment.
"Ya," Mosie said, "I'd have to catch up for the years I'd been away until I turn 21 years ole!"
Another former Amish man told of the time he'd left and joined our military. He was overseas fighting the Vietnam war. There, he received a letter from his dad. His dad wrote that he should be sending home his military pay to make up for leaving the Amish. Nice way to support your son facing death every day.
Within the Swartzentruber order, I sense that children are often seen as an asset rather than a love relationship.
If you like the stories on my blog, you'll love my new book Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: Seven true stories of former Amish available on Amazon and my blog www.BrendaNixonOnAmish.blogspot.com. In the appendix I share parents' letters to their "wayward" children who left that life.
What do you think? Leave comments on my blog.
(c)Copyright, 2015, Brenda Nixon.