The positive benefits of attending church
“Middle child syndrome” occurs when the second of three children has feelings of neglect and isolation.
The oldest child is always doing something for the first time. The youngest child is always cheered on for being young and cute.
The middle child is stuck in between. Keeping this in mind, I have developed a tradition with my middle grandson.
Each Sunday when he goes to church with us, we go to a small cafe in my church. I buy my middle grandchild a bottle of chocolate milk and he and I sit there while he drinks it and talk.
It is a one-on-one time that is special to both of us. He looks forward to going to what he calls “my church.”
Apparently two out of three things I am doing are good for my grandson.
There are those who say chocolate milk is not good for children because it has added sugar. There is a national controversy over allowing schools to offer chocolate milk as a choice for children.
However, the other two things — oneon-one attention and going to church -are actually considered good for children.
Children need attention from the adults in their lives. Children are great imitators. If they don’t receive special individual attention, that is how they will grow up thinking adults should act towards kids.
While common sense says taking a child to church and teaching him the ways of the Christian faith are good, a new study from Harvard’s School of Public Health investigated the mental health and physical wellbeing of children and teenagers who were raised with religious or spiritual practices are happier and have fewer emotional problems.
The research determined that those who attended religious services at least once a week as children or teens were 18 percent more likely to report being happier in their 20s than those who never attended church services.
Children who went to church on a regular basis were 33 percent less likely to use illegal drugs, were less likely to have sex at an earlier age, and less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease.
It is amazing that this conclusion sounds remarkably like Proverbs 22:6 that says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Those of us who have fought the battle of getting kids or grandkids out of bed, fed and dressed for church got reinforcements from this study that the effort is worth it.
Harvard’s School of Public Health also found that people who prayed every day reported greater satisfaction with their lives, were better able to process their emotions, and were more forgiving of others.
I wonder if these researchers know that in Ephesians 4:32 it says: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
These researchers also found regular church attendance is associated with lower likelihood of smoking and an increased likelihood of voting.
That’s almost like what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that says: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Finally, this study determined that about 30 percent of children who were taken to church were more likely to be involved in their local community and to do volunteer work to help others.
The study doesn’t connect this finding with a specific verse, but there is one. Galatians 6:2 says: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
The bottom line of this research is that people who take their children to church help them become people and better citizens. Duh!
And to think, I have been telling my children and grandchildren all these years that we are going to church on Sunday because it is the right and righteous thing to do. Now researchers at Harvard have found that regular church attendance improves their mental, physical and spiritual health.
Just imagine that learning there is an All-powerful God who loves you so much He sent his Son to die for your sins so you could go to Heaven if you believe in Him has positive benefits.
In these days where the forces of freedom from religion are determined to drive any positive mention of God and Christianity out of public consciousness, it is nice to see a study like this which shows there are positive benefits — besides your offspring going to Heaven — for taking them to church to be exposed to the Word of God.