As someone who was raised in a strict religious community (traditional Amish in my case), I can speak to the belief that parents are always right no matter what. This is a deeply ingrained belief in many religious communities, and it can be difficult to question it.

(Scroll to the end or click here for the audio/video version of this post.)

However, as I have grown and learned more about the world outside of the practicing Amish, I have come to realize that blindly following this belief can be harmful. It is important to remember that parents are human, and they are fallible. They make mistakes, just like everyone else.

Blindly obeying your parents can lead to a number of problems. For example, if your parents are abusive or neglectful, following their instructions could put you in danger. If they are bigoted or close-minded, their views could . . .

. . . limit your own growth and development.

Furthermore, blind obedience can prevent you from thinking critically and making your own decisions. It can stifle creativity and independent thought, leading to a narrow worldview and a lack of self-confidence. A prime example of that is Amish education. If I had obeyed my parents and Amish law, I would not have gone to school past the 8th grade and graduated from college.

Of course, this is not to say that parents do not have valuable wisdom and guidance to offer. They have more life experience and, assuming they have developed the skills, they can offer important insights into decision-making. However, it is important to take their advice with a grain of salt and evaluate it critically.

As a person of reason, I believe that it is important to seek guidance from evidence and to follow our conscience. Ultimately, we must use our own judgment to determine what is right and wrong, even if it goes against the advice of our parents or other authority figures. If you’ve read my memoir Amish Girl in Manhattan or followed enough of my work, you know I am speaking from experience and not making these statements glibly. I understand all too well the heavy costs that might come from following the path of reason and personal ethics.

To help inspire you, history offers examples of people who questioned their parents’ authority. Galileo Galilei challenged his father’s plans for him to become a musician and instead pursued a career in science. This led to conflict with his father, but ultimately he went on to make groundbreaking discoveries in astronomy.

Similarly, many successful entrepreneurs and innovators have had to challenge their parents’ expectations and forge their own paths. This requires a willingness to think critically and make difficult decisions, even if it means going against the advice of those closest to us. Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal, an online clothing retailer that grew rapidly in the early 2010s, is one such example. She grew up in a Christian household in California and was homeschooled. Her parents did not support her early ventures because they did not fit within their religious beliefs. In recent years, Amoruso has become a prominent figure in the startup and entrepreneurial world, serving as the founder and CEO of Girlboss, a digital media company that aims to empower women in business. She has also been recognized as one of the most influential people in fashion by Forbes and has spoken out about her experience as a woman in male-dominated industries.

This is not to say that we should unnecessarily disregard our parents or cut off all ties with them like I had to. (Unfortunately too many people from insular religious backgrounds are forced to go to such lengths, and if your parents are more open-minded, consider yourself very lucky.) Rather, it is a reminder that our reason should come first and that we should not let anyone, even our own parents, come between us and our pursuit of truth and progress.

In conclusion, while the belief that parents are always right is deeply ingrained in many religions, it is important to question this belief and to use our own reason to determine what is best for one’s own journey. Blind obedience can be harmful and prevent us from growing and developing as individuals. As humans with the ability to reason (or to develop that ability), we must prioritize our pursuit of truth and progress and seek guidance from evidence and critical thinking in all aspects of our lives.

This is why an education is so important. Not just any education. But an adequate education that includes teaching students to question everything, along with the skills to discern fact from fiction.

Watch/Listen to the Audio/Video

Scroll to the end for the audio/video version of this post.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

“To education and children’s rights”

— Torah Bontrager, Executive Director, Amish Heritage Foundation –

FREE QUIZ: How much do you actually know about the Amish?

Curious about Amish life and culture? Join the FREE monthly-ish Amish Insider & get a link to download “4 Popular Myths About the Amish” ➜

WANT SOME ONE-ON-ONE HELP? Or Want Torah Bontrager to Speak? If you or your school, department, or organization are interested, Torah gives customized presentations or guest lectures via Zoom and culturally sensitive webinar trainings for students, educators, health and legal professionals, social workers, and law enforcement. Email or text/WhatsApp +1-212-634-4255 for more info.