The growing body of literature in this emerging field at the intersection of science and spirit offers an unprecedented view into the uniquely powerful spiritual potential of childhood and adolescence. My research and that of others explore the protective benefits of healthy spiritual development meeting some of the most serious health challenges of adolescence, such as risk taking, depression, substance abuse, and severe affective disorders. Spirituality is also strongly associated with positive inner assets, such as meaning, purpose, and optimism. As a society we urgently need to see the overwhelming strength of spirituality as a foremost protection against the source of the leading causes of death between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four: accidents due to risk (mostly automotive), suicides, and homicides, as well as the contribution of drug use to these tragedies. This deserves a national conversation to reframe the impact of our institutions and culture on development and the impact of personal spirituality on development, as well.
From “The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving” By Lisa Miller, PhD