The pos­i­tive ben­e­fits of at­tend­ing church

The Saline Courier - - OPINION - JIM HAR­RIS CON­SER­VA­TIVE Cor­ner

“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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.