A recent New York Times Op Ed page reports on the conclusions of the Grant Study, which followed approximately 250 students from Harvard born in 1938 through their lifespans, with measuring/testing/interviews every several years.
In the department of “Things That We Really Do Know, But Are Happy To Hear Reinforced By An Official Study”, here are some of the general conclusions:
- Neither social class, political affiliation, birth order, nor physical attributes had a measurable effect on long-term personal success and happiness.
- Children who had warm childhoods moved through life with fluidity. Those from “cold and barren households” struggled.
- Of the 31 original subjects who were categorized as from “cold and barren households,” only four were still alive at the time of the Grant Study’s publication. Of those from warm, intimate families, one-third of the men were still alive at the time of publication.
- In the words of George Valiant, the current Study Director, “It was the capacity for intimate relationships that predicted flourishing in all aspects of the men’s lives….The men who could be affectionate about people and organized about things had very enjoyable lives.”
- Also cited as positive outcomes of happy childhoods were persistence, discipline, and dependability.
If we do nothing else as parents, let’s show our children that we love them and keep their home a place of warmth and happiness. Everything depends on it.
SARAH C. REESE
Executive Director, Informed Educational Solutions
- Op-Ed Columnist: The Heart Grows Smarter (nytimes.com)