“It’s about time!” I thought, when reading a recent article written by a professional who works with children and has seen clear evidence that children with religion are much better off mentally than children deprived of faith in a higher power. She reminds her audience that telling children “they are going to die and turn to dust” does not give them any kind of inspiration to live, especially when the going gets tough.
In her article, “Don’t believe in God? Lie to your children,” published in the Wall Street Journal, on December 5, 2019, she wrote, “As a therapist, I’m often asked to explain why depression and anxiety are so common among children and adolescents. One of the most important explanations—and perhaps the most neglected—is declining interest in religion. This cultural shift already has proved disastrous for millions of vulnerable young people.”
She explains, with facts, that the shift away from religion in America has been attended with increasing mental health problems. She has observed that, “The belief in God—in a protective and guiding figure to rely on when times are tough—is one of the best kinds of support for kids in an increasingly pessimistic world. That’s only one reason, from a purely mental-health perspective, to pass down a faith tradition.”
She elaborates on how giving children a spiritual center makes them more compassionate, grateful, caring for others, and sounder in mind and perspective. They have fewer mental health problems. To her, the evidence is clear.
I don’t agree with her suggestion to lie about God to children. Parents are role models and lying is never a healthy model to emulate. However, her message, that nihilism can take thought to dark places for children, can give useful direction to parents wanting to raise happy well-adjusted children.
I found the article to be a proverbial breath of fresh air in times that faith in God is often talked down, belittled, even ridiculed. There is no doubt in my mind, that faith in God makes a positive difference in one’s life. Children who have been blessed with a proper understanding of God as Love, are blessed for the rest of their lives. Even if they cease attending church, they will still be blessed beyond measure.
A solid spiritual education is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children.