RAISING HAPPIER ADULTS

What are your hopes and dreams for your children and grandchildren? 

Do you hope they possess good mental health?  I can’t believe you would want them to have depression, low self-esteem, discontent, or anxiety disorders.  

Do you hope to encourage their physical well-being?  Again I can’t believe you would cheer them to take up smoking, alcohol, drugs, or promiscuous sex; all of which would diminish their physical health.

Parents and Grandparents, what do you insist your children do to set them up for this life?  Sports, school, good friends?  What sacrifices do you make so your children live a better life than you?

Do you want to help your child succeed in life? Pass on a living faith in Jesus Christ.

While all kinds of factors impact what happens in a child’s life, one of the most significant factors to improve and safeguard the mental health and physical well-being of our children is for parents to pass on their faith to their children.

A recent study by Harvard University’s School of Public Health found kids raised going regularly to church grow up to be happier adults.  The study explored the association of the religious involvement of children and teens with their mental health and physical well-being as young adults. The study was published by the American Journal of Epidemiology which is dedicated to research related to health and well being.  Empirical research suggests that religion is associated with better health and well-being in adults.

When they say “religious involvement” they mean weekly worship attendance and regular or daily devotional times in children’s lives. The researchers found found little difference existed between “never attending” and “less than weekly” attendance to move the needle on many of the measurements of mental and physical health.

When we talk about attendance, we are not talking about the kids being dropped off.  To effectively pass on our religious values and practices “occurs largely through parental modeling”.  Am I saying going to worship and praying together are the magic ticket? No. But spiritual growth helps all of us run this life race with perseverance and come out ahead.  As the apostle Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7; cf. 1 Cor 9:24-27, Acts 20:24, Gal 5:7, Heb 12:1)

Attending worship was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, greater volunteering, greater sense of mission, more forgiveness, and lower probabilities of drug use and early sexual initiation. Being involved in the faith community was linked to a wide range of positive outcomes, such as greater psychological well-being, character strengths, reduced mental illness, and healthier behaviors.

To cut to the point. You want to help your kids run this race with perseverance? You want them to have a mental and physical edge over this world that is unkind and unfair? Put them in the lap of Jesus who calls on you: “Bring the little ones to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.”(Mark 10:14)  

May we continue to grow in the grace and knowing Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. (2 Peter 3:18)

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Douglas

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