A number of years ago, I was impressed with the newspaper report of a double doctorate study on the subject of “How happy will your children be?”. Loperiare and Farnsworth were doing the research, and while their conclusions would be called ancient now, I have the feeling that they may be more incisive today than they were then. The basic question they were asking was “What elements will be factored into the happiness of children when they marry?” While I missed cutting the report out of the paper, I did make notes on the basic points they gave.
The first factor was, “THE SUPER HAPPINESS OF PARENTS IN THEIR MARRIAGE.” Did my mom and dad really love each other? Were they suited for each other and did they have a happy marriage? Children tend to model after the parents and when they are happy, they tend to follow suit. The power of influence!
The next factor was, “DID THE CHILD GROW UP HAPPY.” Was it ‘Happy Days’ like on T.V. or was life miserable, filled with heavy conflicts and difficulties? If the child is happy growing up, that attitude tends to show through in the marriage relationship. Happy is as happy does – the power of influence.
A LACK OF CONFLICT WITH MOTHER. This was the next factor listed in the study. This was placed high on the list. Back then mother did most of the ‘raising’. It was mother who was able to smooth the wrinkles and heal the wounds. The powerful influence of mother was placed high on the list back then and today.
The study showed that when “DISCIPLINE WAS ADMINISTERED. IT WAS CONSISTANT, FIRM, BUT NEVER HARSH”. Punishment was not rendered because the prime purpose of punishment is to hurt. “I’m going to hurt you in a way so that the next time you face a similar situation, you will resist it!” To discipline or disciple, refers to teaching as the main core of the principle. You punish a criminal, you discipline a child.
This is high on the list for future happiness. The power of influence.
A CLOSE FEELING AND SOLID RELATIONSHIP WITH MOTHER. Mother has taken two of the first five factors in importance. Lack of conflict is noted but an intimate relationship is needed. The marvel of this security will bleed over into future life. It is the mother who gives birth and it is the mother who often sustains it.
A CLOSE FEELING AND SOLID RELATIONSHIP WITH FATHER. The Word of God simple states, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 5:4) The relationships in a home should be (1) Male and female, (2) Husband and wife, (3) Mother and Father. The wise King Solomon wrote, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). What if there are no instructions or laws? What then?
The next factor listed was “A LACK OF CONFLICT WITH FATHER”. This is a restatement of the need for a close and cordial relationship with father. Without this love, your children will have problems in having a happy marriage. The Father’s influence.
SEXUALITY WAS A SUBJECT THAT WAS HONEST AND OPEN AND DISCUSSED WITHIN THE CONFINES OF TRUE LOVE. This factor back then was difficult because the subject of sex was seldom if ever discussed. The kid’s information was mostly left to ‘play ground missionaries’ and more mis-information was given than was true, clean and good. The writer of Hebrews said, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). What a blessing to have what we really are (sexual) discussed with parents who love each other dearly and their children explicitly. Openness is so important.
A hidden factor was listed. NO BRUTALITY IN DISCIPLINE. Never attempt to discipline when you are angry or emotionally upset. The love in discipline and the anger in brutality, must be clearly defined in the heart of the parent. My Dad said, “Hands are for holding, and lifting, and receiving and loving – not for hitting. Besides, the hand and the fist are just a clench away”. My Mother and Dad never slapped us.
Last, but not least, is another factor of sexuality; GENERAL ATTITUDES TOWARD HUMAN SEXUALITY WERE COMPLETELY FREE OF AVERSION AND NEGATIVE FEELINGS. There is both the pure and the prurient, the clean and the dirty, the good and the evil, in any discussion of sex. Since sex is what we are and not what we do, openness and purity must be the base on which sexuality is discussed. I say sex is what we are and the doing of sexual acts is nothing more than the extension of our love and being, otherwise sexual acts are little more than animal passions.
May all your kids be happily married. It starts in your own home.