May 30, 2015 | By

Spirituality is Innate – and Good for You!

Dr. Lisa Miller, in a new book, The Spiritual Child, The New Science  on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, reports on recent psychological research that documents an affirmative link between spirituality and health. She defines spirituality as “an inner sense of relationship to a higher power that is loving and guiding”. The research shows that children who have a positive, active spirituality are: 40% less likely to use and abuse substances; 60% less likely to be depressed as teenagers; and 80% less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex. They also have significantly more positive markers for thriving including an increased sense of meaning and purpose, and high levels of academic success. For a review, see David Brooks in the NYT: “Building Spiritual Capital”.

This is good news – and reinforces the importance of providing children with spiritual nourishment and encouragement.  As noted in an earlier post on Why Do Children Believe in God, children are born with a natural propensity to believe in God.  If that belief is not grounded in the language, tradition or culture of parents and communities, it can whither and die.

2 Responses to “Spirituality is Innate – and Good for You!”

  1. Steve Jones says:

    I’ve long held that four levels of fitness are essential to me in my adult life: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual. Why not for children as well in their trek toward adulthood?

    • George Gantz says:

      Indeed! The importance of spiritual practice for human thriving is also discussed in this recent post: Social Competence.

      When my sons were teens, I had the wonderful experience of teaching the Merit Badges for Personal Fitness and Personal Management – both offer excellent practical curricula for improving our fitness on all four of the levels you name. Our educational system and civic society would benefit from a broader and richer appreciation for of these concepts.

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