“Is any merry? Let him sing; and holy joy is the very soul and root of praise and thanksgiving. God is pleased to reckon himself glorified by our joy in him, and in his wondrous works.” Matthew Henry
The world’s most prominent researcher and writer about gratitude, Robert Emmons, defines gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” Emmons’ research found that people who are thankful in this way tend to be happier, more energetic, more optimistic, and more helpful, more sympathetic, and more forgiving. They are also less materialistic, less depressed, less anxious, and less jealous.
Read more at HappyChristian.net.
Over at the Happy Christian blog today I give six tips on how to get the most out of family dinner. Here’s an encouraging video by Bruce Feiler on the same subject that you might want to watch as well. His research-based tips include:
- Having kids set the table or help you prepare dinner makes them work together on a task. This increases bonding and reduces the likelihood of fights at the table.
- To increase communication at the table, play “Bad and Good” where everyone, including the parents, say what bad thing happened to them and then what good thing happened that day.
- Talk about your family history. The number one predictor of a child’s emotional well-being is a knowledge of their family history.
- Talk about your failures in order to prepare them for the difficult times and help them get through them.
- The biggest pitfall is allowing devices at the table.
- Pitfall number two is parents do too much of the talking. The research shows parents do two-thirds of the talking at dinnertime. That should be closer to 50% maximum.
“There is more happiness in the godly dinner of herbs than in the stalled ox of profane rioters.” Charles Spurgeon*
Social science and common sense agree on one thing: the family that eats together, stays together. But how? Here are some helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Read my six tips here.
Yesterday I suggested that Dr. R C Sproul’s favorite word is “righteousness.” Today I can reveal Matthew Henry’s favorite theme. In the introduction to his beautiful little book, The Pleasantness of a Religious Life, Henry writes:
“In this, I confess, I indulge an inclination of my own; for this doctrine of the pleasantness of religion is what I have long had a particular kindness for, and taken all occasions to mention.”
The book is based on six sermons on why everyone should be a Christian, his text being Proverbs 3:17.
“Her [Wisdom's] ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”
Henry asks why the Christian life is called “ways of pleasantness” and gives five possibilities:
1. It’s as if pleasantness were confined to those ways.
2. It’s as if pleasantness were not to be found anywhere else.
3. It’s as if pleasantness were confined to those ways, and not to be found anywhere else.
4. It’s as if pleasantness arose from the innate goodness of the ways themselves.
5. It denotes the superlative pleasantness of the Christian religion: it’s as pleasant as pleasantness itself.