After reading about The Children's Society report, I can't get it out of my head. Here are a few of their findings:
One in six British children have serious emotional or behavioural problems. Children today, it said, are unhappier now than 30 years ago. It said, "Between the lines can be gleaned the uncomfortable truth that many children today are deprived, not of money, but of parental time and love." Two-thirds of children believe their parents 'getting on well' is one of the most important factors in their lives, but only a third of parents thought it mattered that much. And it doesn't seem to matter if they're rich or poor.
What's more, it didn't blame any nebulous social factors. It said that children are unhappy and there is one overwheliming cause - excessive individualism. This is the widespread belief that the prime duty of the individual is to make the most of their own life, rather than to contribute to the lives of others.
It's sobering stuff, especially for someone with children. There does seem to be something about our society that just cries out, "Unhappy". Startling increases in suicide, anorexia, insomnia and depression. Two boys from my school (in seperate incidents) committed suicide over Christmas! What is going on? Yet, anyone would think from the news coverage that the pressing issue of our day is not unhappiness, but the credit crunch! And all of us (Christians included) are caught up in it all as victims and perpetrators simultaneously. How much are we imbibing the really unhelpful values of our society - almost without noticing?