Parade Magazine did an interesting story on the secrets of a happy family last weekend. It’s worth reading. They featured a quiz that has a few interesting bits of trivia. I cherry-picked a few of the questions that I think play into some of what we’ve been talking about at Paperback Theology lately. See if you’d get these right:
When a team of psychologists measured children’s resilience, they found that the kids who ________ were best able to handle stress.
- Ate the same breakfast every day
- Knew the most about their family’s history
- Played team sports
- Attended regular religious services
Answer: You would think religion would get a little cred right? Not so much. The more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason: These children have a strong sense of “intergenerational self”—they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience both highs and lows. This fits with much of what I’ve been saying the past few weeks in How to Talk to Children About God Part I and Part II. One of the primary things a parent does is to give their children a good/true story to live.
Children are expected to learn how many new words per year during grades 3 through 12?
Answer: It may sound daunting, but three-thousand is correct. Best way to help is to learn words together, make a game out of it. This makes me want to be much more patient with my kids. The demands upon their abilities are extremely high when they are young. I have flash cards I use to try and increase my own vocabulary. I’m lucky if I can add 50 words in a year.
3. What do surveys show that children want most from their parents?
- To spend more time with them
- For the parents to be less tired and stressed
- A bigger allowance
Answer: I thought it could be more time, but the answer is they want their parents to be less stressed out and tired. It’s interesting to me how the practice of Sabbath subverts this issue. You can knock out answers one and two just by observing Sabbath as a family. I wonder if we are ready to own the fact that the biggest enemy to the family is stress?
4. Which of these out-of-school activities is more popular for American children ages 7 to 10?
- Music lessons
- Religious activities
- Team sports
Answer: Kid’s sports programs are out of control. They dominate the typical family calendar. Nearly three-quarters of American children play team sports, but parents often put too much pressure on their kids. To make sports more family-friendly: Don’t push athletics on your child. Don’t use commands during games (say “good pass,” not “pass the ball”). And don’t engage in postgame analysis (let the coaches coach; parents should be supportive).
5. Which behavior is more vital to a happy relationship?
- Supporting your partner during a difficult period
- Celebrating your partner after an accomplishment
Answer: Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara asked men and women to share good news with their partners. Those with the strongest relationships didn’t just toast their partner’s achievement (“Good job, honey”) but attributed it to their unique self (“Only someone with your ingenuity could have won that big account”). The scientists concluded that it’s more important to congratulate your partner when things go right than to console when things go wrong.