There has never been a more important time to find meaningful and acceptable ways of passing on faith from one generation to the next. Part of this privilege and responsibility lies with grandparents who live authentic Christian lives. They can be the vital link between the gospel and the faith of a younger generation.
Faithful Grandparents is a visionary call to an older generation to take the initiative with courage and wisdom, humour and prayer.
There is more than an element of truth in the adage, ‘You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.’ I was attracted to review this book because I am a grandparent with four grandchildren between the ages of 1 and 13. To be honest, I was expecting either a book which looked at the ideals of grandparenthood, where everything is hunky-dory and love abounds everywhere (a very creditable aim) or what to do (or not do) to be the perfect grandparent. Being a realist, I wanted something between those two extremes, that was useful and practical.
The book looks at relationships between grandparents, children and grandchildren – warts and all. There is seriousness: for example, the acrimonious breakdown of a marriage and grandchildren denied contact with grandparents, contrasting with the grandmother whose favourite activity was to camp in the attic with her grandchildren under a blue sheet.
There is humour: the mere thought of the author playing on a trampoline with her grandchildren who, ‘shrieked with delight, deliberately throwing me off balance as I hurtled around.’ This is an image which should remind all grandparents of the need to recognise their physical abilities are more restricted that those of their grandchildren!
The book draws attention to the responsibility of grandparents to pass on Christian values and ethics, to live Christian lives and to impart the Gospel message to their grandchildren, to be a constant in a world of disbelief. As parents are both often working full time, this gives a fantastic opportunity to influence the lives of children for the good.
This is a well-researched, well written book, full of wisdom, practical advice and helpful hints, balanced with biblical references and relevant quotes from people such as C S Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Timothy Keller and many others (including Jo Swinney!)
Many may consider the book a bit of a hotch-potch or disjointed, but that is part of its charm, and a way to encourage readers to read more while they reflect on their own relationships with their grandchildren. Well worth reading!
Preach magazine book review by Alan Rashleigh
AUTHOR: Anita Cleverly has over 35 years' experience as a church leader alongside her husband, Charlie, most recently at St Aldates Church, Oxford, following ten years in inner-city Paris. She is a spiritual director, bereavement counsellor and international speaker, and is on the board of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. She is passionate about her grandchildren.