Research Shows Religion Benefits Children

Sam Rainer

May 4, 2007

Proverbs 22:6 Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Go figure. Church is good for kids. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics (or NCES for short) validates what many of us already knew anecdotally. In fact, the more the parents attend church with their children, the better the kids fare in regards to behavior, emotional needs, and cognitive ability. Additionally, as the frequency of attendance increases, the more the children improved in these areas.

This study will be published in the journal, Social Science Research. And it claims to be the first of its kind. The research did not differentiate between faiths, so it probably included a cross-section of varying religions found within the United States.

I too have seen firsthand the results of training a child correctly. At my church we have a day school for 145 kids up to the kindergarten age. When I need a break from pastoral studies, I’ll go into the multi-purpose room and play dodge ball with them. They like to gang up on me like little gnats and throw rubber balls at me. I hardly ever get a shot in back at them.

On more than one occasion, the local county school system has commented to our director of the day school that our kids come into kindergarten as some of the better-behaved and most knowledgeable children. I’m convinced it is due to the biblical emphasis of the education they receive in our program, coupled with the cooperation and training from the parents of course.

Without a doubt, some kids shine despite the most despicable of upbringings. Others come out rotten even with the best parenting. But what this study validates is that the majority of children are greatly benefited by being raised in a church.

While this research didn’t detail which faiths were represented, it underscores the overall implications and importance of raising a child in a godly manner. We very well may be losing a generation. Most trend-watchers decry the decline of the church, particularly in the younger age groups.

Reflecting on this article makes me think of my Mom, a Proverbs 31 woman. In fact, I think I’ll call her and thank her for making me write all those hundreds of Bible verses when I misbehaved.

2 comments on “Research Shows Religion Benefits Children”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    One truth is always evident as you write: You love your church. I am certain that being a pastor can be frustrating and discouraging at times, but your love for the people comes through. What prompted my response was your comment that you go play dodge ball with 145 preschool kids. That action in of itself speaks volumes to the joy and love you have for your church.

  2. Sam Rainer says:

    Thanks kdb1411 – the kids certainly are more of a blessing to me than I could ever be to them. They are a true joy and help me keep the right perspective in ministry.

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