Saturday, March 14, 2009


You don’t need to have seen Brian De Palma’s Carrie before watching this clip from 1982’s Pandemonium, but it’s ten times better if you have. You know, I’m sure some of us go overboard sometimes, but for the most part we Christian parents try do our best to raise our kids right. Really, we do. Still, at some point, its time for the kids to leave the nest and start making their own decisions. God help us all. Seriously.

It’s like the Catechism says, “As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family… [however] obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children.” You can almost hear the little moppets cheering from here, can’t you? But wait, there’s more! Obedience to parents may end, says the Catechism, but “not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

In the end, it’s worth the effort. Even if we didn’t have that eternal life thing going for us, there would still be some benefits to raising kids in a religious home. A 2007 study by Mississippi State University showed that, despite what we often see depicted in the movies, kids from religious households tend to be better behaved and adjusted than other children. Based on the study, sociologist John Bartkowski gives three reasons religion can be good for kids. “First, religious networks provide social support to parents and this can improve their parenting skills. Children who are brought into such networks and hear parental messages reinforced by other adults may also take more to heart the messages that they get in the home… Secondly, the types of values and norms that circulate in religious congregations tend to be self-sacrificing and pro-family… Finally, religious organizations imbue parenting with sacred meaning and significance.”

So keep up the good work, religious parents. We can’t stop’em all from showing their dirty pillows in public, but we’ve got a better chance than those godless heathens.


Anonymous said...

I would have to beg to differ on your comments about how religious parents raise better children. I am what I consider a spiritual person but don't follow any particular religion. Although I grew up in the church I found my own way as an adult. I have two children who have grown up in this "non-religious" household and are great kids. One is getting to start college, the other is very active in sports and is a good student. Both are very respectful towards their parents and are over all very well adjusted. I think sometimes its the kids who grow up in a religious household that are somehow more closed off than others. They don't learn to question life and are kept in the dark with no voice. I feel that's a terrible shame.

EegahInc said...

Thanks for the comment; always good to be challenged now and then :)

Actually, it's the 2007 study by Mississippi State University which makes the claim that, on average, religious households turn out "better behaved and adjusted" kids. Obviously, and I don't think I implied this, there's no way a statistic is applicable to every individual situation, which it appears NOT to be in your case. Bless you for the good job you're doing as a parent.

And, you know, thank God statistics don't govern individuals, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. My own childhood was spent in a home that was not only irreligious, but also full of drunks, drug addicts, and violence. And yet here I am today, teaching religious ed. classes and writing a religious blog. Who woulda thunk it?

Now, in fairness, may I be allowed to turn the tables a bit? I DID at least quote a verifiable study in support of my opinion. Is there one which backs up your belief that "kids who grow up in a religious household... are somehow more closed off than others?" A Gallup study, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, suggests otherwise.

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