Dear Grandparenting: People just don’t get religion in their life anymore like they did in the past, and I think we’re all the worse because of it.
None of my grandchildren are growing up in a church-going household. My own children were made to attend church until they were young adults, at which point I figured I’d pretty much done all I could. One by one they stopped going to church on a regular basis.
I am a big believer in the do-good effect of religion on the human spirit. My mother used to call non — believers “heathens.” Now that the heathens are in charge, I wonder what impact it will have on my grandkids. Don’t you think that keeping the faith helps build good character? Anna Bordley, Charlottesville, Virginia
Dear Anna: If you keep up with the news, you may have learned that the number of Americans who consider themselves members of a church, synagogue or mosque has fallen below 50 percent for the first time, according to the Gallup pollsters of public opinion.
Religion is increasingly becoming the province of society’s older generations. Once grandchildren attain a measure of independence, they are inclined to drop out of institutional religious activities, or mix and match from different religious traditions to create their own.
Two-thirds of Americans born before 1946 belong to a church, compared to 58 percent of Baby Boomers, 50 percent of those born in the 1960s and 1970s and 36 percent of those born between 1980 and 1996.
Religious membership can exert a beneficial effect on youthful character, according to a report appearing in the Psychological Bulletin. A review eight decades of research showed that religious obedience correlates with greater self-control that curbs those troublesome instant gratification impulses, thus avoiding temptations that trip up so many. Other researchers found that the devoutly religious often do better in school, tend to report happier marriages and seem generally happier.
Grand remark of the week
Here’s one we like from humorist Gene Perret:
“The simplest toy, one that can be operated by any grandchild, is a grandparent.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.