A short while back, Fox News released the results of a survey done by Mississippi State University on the subject of kids and religion. A professor at the university asked parents and teachers of more than 16,000 first graders -
*whether the child has self-control
*whether the child showed happy or unhappy behavior
*whether the child had respect for his peers
Then these results were compared with how often a child went to church.
Guess what? Children whose parents attended church (especially when both parents attended) showed "better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents."
But if parents often argued about religion - that caused tension with the kids.
The researcher who did the study thinks religion is good for kids for three reasons.
1. Church attenders (parents) have a social network that provides support. Children become part of the network.
2. Church attenders learn values that tend to "be self-sacrificing and pro-family."
3. Church often provides parents with "sacred meaning and significance" for the job of parenting.
A University of Virginia sociologist, W. Bradford Wilcox agrees. He sees many religious parents with the attitude of "getting their kids into heaven is more important than getting their kids into Harvard."
But there is a question - Some psychologists cannot figure out why religious organizations have more effect on families than secular organizations that have the same goals. One psychologist wondered "Is there anything about religion and spirituality that sets it apart?"
Some think it's that parents of misbehaving kids simply don't take them to church because children can't sit still and listen - so obviously only good kids are in church.
Well, obviously we would disagree. We would say that the reason the survey findings are what they are is because -
1. Parents are involved in the kids' lives.
2. Parents and kids are taught that God is the higher authority and He has instructions about how we are to live our lives (and self-control is a big part of those instructions).
3. Parents and kids are taught to love and respect the Lord and each other.
Besides, anyone who has worked with kids at church, knows that it isn't just the well-behaved ones that show up!!!