What is the best predictor of a child’s happiness? According to a study done at Emory university, a child’s knowledge of his family history proved to be the best indicator.
Marshall Duke and Robyn Fivush developed a set of twenty questions to ask children about their family history. They then conducted a set of psychological tests and found that the children who knew most about their family history were more resilient, more confident, and felt a higher sense of control in their lives.
Two months after Duke and Fivush conducted the tests, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11. The psychologists tested the children again and found that those who knew their family history were able to cope with the stress of September 11 better than those that didn’t.
This study impacted Duke’s own life, who shares family stories every night at dinner with his family. Sharing these family stories gives the children a sense of identity and of belonging, a sense that they are part of bigger than something than themselves. When they hear that their grandmother overcame challenges, they feel that they can overcome challenges too. After all, it’s in their DNA.
What family stories are some of your favorites?
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