Faith and family sources of happiness for AU students

Fri, 2007-09-21 08:27 -- univcomm
September 21, 2007

Jasmine Lee, 18, and her two younger sisters would fight all the time when she still lived at home, but when it came to the love and compassion the sisters had for each other, they would do anything for each other.

“We’ve had to stick kind of close because there’s no immediate family out here,” the Anderson University student said.

Not only are they close to each other and their parents, but Lee said that spending time with her family makes her a happier person.

“Family is very important,” she said. “Family is truly where the heart is. If you don’t have family and God in your life, it’s really hard.”

Lee is part of a large group of young people who said faith and family make them happy, according to a recent poll conducted by MTV and The Associated Press.

In the survey, more than 100 questions regarding happiness were asked to 1,280 people between the ages of 13 and 24.

According to the poll, almost 75 percent of the people surveyed said their relationship with their parents makes them happy. The same poll showed that almost half of the young people believed that religion and spirituality are very important, and more than half said that their belief in a higher power has an influence over other things that make them happy.

“I do believe my faith makes me a lot happier,” Lee said. “I see a lot of young people who don’t have faith, and they’re miserable.”

Along with that, being in a religious group makes people happier, the poll said.

Lee is majoring in psychology at AU and has a minor in Christian ministries. Despite her father being a reverend, Lee said she believed that she would still have as much faith in God and Jesus Christ as she would if he were not religious at all.

“I stand in awe of God, and I stand in awe of who I believe in,” Lee said. “My faith, it makes me extremely happy. The Lord already knew my destiny before I was born. I tell young people all the time, what your parents do, what their occupations are, that’s what the Lord wanted for them. When I stand before the Lord, he’s not going to ask me, ‘Were you on your father’s faith?’ or ‘Were you on your mother’s faith?’ He’s going to ask me what I believe on my own.”

AU senior Tiffany Morris, 21, said her parents were the reason that she was so faithful.

“My family has shaped a lot of who I am,” she said.

Morris, a social work major, said her family, including extended family, would attend church together.

“If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have gone to a Christian school,” she said.

Morris started her college career at Butler University in Indianapolis, but, she said, she wanted to move to a school where students were more focused on academics and faith.

“I didn’t like the atmosphere,” she said.

Morris said she wanted to go somewhere where sex and alcohol were not as prominent. Many people between the ages of 13 and 25 feel the same way, as shown in the poll. Most of those polled said they were not as happy when they focused on carnal wants.

Lee said she believed that world events, such as the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the hurricanes, the wars and other tragic happenings, were the reason she thought more young people were looking to family and a higher being for support.

“One dumb choice could kill me, one dumb choice could screw my life up,” she said. “Young people are really realizing ‘I need my mom, I need my dad, I need a system to keep me grounded, something to keep me from losing my mind.’”

-- Jessica Kerman is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Story and photos republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.