Spirituality central to kidsê¢__‘_Ê¢ happiness

Spirituality central to kidsê¢__‘_Ê¢ happiness

Spirituality central to kids” happiness

October 24, 2007

Today’s Family News

On the heels of new research that found believers in God are more likely to treat others better comes another study that suggests spirituality is important to a child’s happiness.

In fact, as the Kitchener-Waterloo Record reported, spirituality – believing in a higher being or power that plays a meaningful role in people’s lives – seems to be much more important to children than to adults, according to lead researcher Dr. Mark Holder, a psychologist on the Kelowna campus of the University of British Columbia.

Holder and a colleague asked 315 children what they thought contributed to their personal happiness. More than 22 per cent of boys and just over 20 per cent of girls cited spirituality.

“This is a whopping effect,” he told the Record. “For adults, it’s five per cent.”

Those surveyed were between eight and 12 years old and comprised a mix of public and independent school students. The results were the same regardless of which type of school they attended.

The other factors the children cited as adding to their happiness were an outgoing personality and having good relationships with family and friends.

“What’s important [to them] is not if they go to church or not, not if they”re praying or meditating,” said Holder. “What’s important . . . is their personal relationship.”

The message to parents, he added, is that “promoting spirituality may have a positive influence on the child’s well-being.”

Holder conceded he began the study assuming that parents would be more spiritually inclined than their children. “I was simply wrong,” he said.