Faithful Grandparents: Hope and love through the generations

Faithful Grandparents: Hope and love through the generations

Author : Anita Cleverly
£9.99

Be the grandparent God wants you to be!

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.


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Title Faithful Grandparents: Hope and love through the generations
Author Anita Cleverly
Description

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.

Details
  • Product code: 9780857466617
  • Published: 15 February 2019
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

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.

Church Times 27.09.19. Review by Dennis Richards

This entertaining and challenging volume is written by a Christian grandparent for other grandparents. Its purpose is clearly defined. It is primarily intended to help grandparents who wish to hand on the baton of faith to a younger generation.

The book is unashamedly biblical, and the writer freely acknowledges her Evangelical roots. But do not be misled. Anita Cleverly has lived a rich and interesting life. There is an avowedly ecumenical flavour to her life’s history, and one is left very much with the impression that her story still has chapters to be written.

Of her 35 years in church ministry, in various guises, ten of them were spent in inner-city Paris, and it shows. She has clearly come under the influence of some great Catholic theologians, and speaks warmly of her Jesuit friends in Oxford. As she says, ‘My own church history has taken me through “Label Land”.’ She finds herself increasingly exploring the contemplative tradition.

Most important in a volume of this nature, the author is very aware of the speed of change in contemporary culture. The internet has changed everything. Individualism and relativism are today fundamental to the teenagers’ creed. She is well aware that grandparents today may face the prospect of a blended family, or a gay marriage and transgender discussion. She is very sure that ‘unconditional love’ defines what should be ‘on the tin’ for Christian grandparents.

Even the vocabulary has changed, as I know to my cost. Writing this review as a grandfather of six, I find myself being mocked, lost in bewilderment, and, at times, genuinely scared that I’ve totally lost the plot. Pathetically trying to join in a game of football, I am exhorted to ‘Stop flexing, Grandad!’ Far from being worried about my physical welfare, they are actually telling me to stop showing off. Blank incomprehension on my part. Hilarity all round on theirs.

The author’s predicament was even worse. She climbed on the grandchildren’s trampoline. Bad mistake. All of which tells you that there is plenty to make you smile in her account of her own experiences.

Best of all, it is a volume that makes you think. What kind of grandparent am I? Formal? Fun-seeker? Surrogate parent? Reservoir of family wisdom? Distant? It is also reassuring. Some things haven’t changed. The definitions for example. Grandparent: so easy to operate, even a child can do it. Grandparent: breaks most of the rules and loves every second of it. I can live with that. Thanks Anita.

Dennis Richards is a former head of St Aidan’s C of E High School, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

 

evangelicals now October 2019. Review by Val Archer

Given the seismic cultural, moral, sexual and social upheaval in Britain today, the author’s call to the older generation of Christians to model courage, wisdom, faith and prayer is both timely and vital – not least in passing on the ‘faith once delivered’ to children generally – and one’s grandchildren especially. 

Anita Cleverly has a lifetime of experience as a Christian mother and grandmother and in family ministry, which she ransacks to great effect. She writes with a light touch, interweaving gospel truths and scriptural wisdom with a sharp understanding of the complex challenges facing Christian parents today. All in all it makes for both an enjoyable and stimulating read.

In the opening insightful chapter on ‘21st Century Grandparents’, she quotes The Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, who has discovered that ‘two thirds of the nation’s grandparents – that’s 5 million people – now provide regular childcare for their grandchildren’. The contact time with grandchildren in Britain today is at a very different level than was generally the case with previous generations. After the parent-child relationship, grandparents usually provide the second most important emotional influence in a child’s life. The opportunity and need is immense. 

In the 11 chapters which follow, the whole landscape of grandparenting is explored and practical biblical wisdom and advice brought to bear on a whole raft of issues – the art of listening, storytelling the family history, seeking to reach the heart of the child with the gospel, the vital place and role of the church and church family.

Two chapters, one ‘A Grandparent’s Creed’ and the other ‘A Grandparent’s Prayers’, are outstanding and worth buying the book for. Taking the Apostles’ Creed and reflecting and meditating on each phrase in the context of the challenges facing children today in our oft-pernicious culture, is so helpful. Praying for and with grandchildren takes the focus to that which any Christian parent of grandparent wants for their offspring – that they grow to love and serve Christ all their days.

Addressing some of the cultural, social and sexual changes in a chapter entitled ‘Shifting Tectonic Plates’ brings a rootedness and contemporary awareness that is much needed in Christian thinking today. Pointing out that it is not all ‘gloom and doom’, that many of the changes in society have been for the good, is a welcome corrective that recognises ‘common grace’ has not yet left town! At the same time the author goes on to provide a thoughtful critique of the blatantly anti-God agenda that is so prevalent. 

The light Charismatic influences and context from which the author writes mean that on occasion there are one or two things those in other traditions might not always go along with, or perhaps express in different ways. However, to major on these would be to lose the great benefit and blessing this delightful book provides.

Reviewed by Val Archer: conference speaker, mother of four and grandmother of seven. Member of both The King’s Church Chessington and The Globe Church London.

 

The Reader, Autumn 2019. Review by Howard Rowe

This book is for Christian grandparents. Anita Cleverly writes of her own journey and approach as a grandparent, and covers the responsibilities of the grandparent’s role in the twenty-first century, together with the opportunities we have, and the limitations we are subject to. The chapters on sensitive listening, the wonder of the created world, Bible stories and children’s questions are well covered. There is an encouraging view of the church today, and valuable advice regarding the changing landscape of culture and today’s technology. The chapter I enjoyed most was the one on praying for and with our grandchildren. Anita Cleverly has written a book of authentic Christian wisdom and grace, sprinkled with real comments from real people, and pieces of practical advice, for ourselves as well as for our families. She writes with feeling about the difficulties of being a faithful grandparent as well as the joys. I commend it to you.

Reviewed by Howard Rowe

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Reform, May 2019. Review by Ruth Allen

This book is a gem. I read it quickly, because it is hard to put down, and I shall immediately read it again more slowly, to savour the wisdom that’s on every page. The title tells you what it’s about: encouragement for grandparents to share their faith with their grandchildren.

Anita Cleverly is an experienced spiritual director and bereavement counsellor. Her sensitivity undergirds the wise words in every chapter. Never does she forget that we have our grandchildren on loan, and that discipline and criticism, however gently applied, are not our lot.

The first two chapters of the book survey what grandparenting really is, in our time and culture, recognising the different situations that many grandparents find themselves in. Many grandparents are left with very limited opportunities to build the relationship which permit the sharing of faith stories. There are useful suggestions for grandparents who have little contact with their grandchildren to make the most of the possibilities.

Several chapters help us to identify the essentials of our own faith, and ways in which they could be put over. One uses the Apostles’ Creed to help us focus. There are chapters on the Church and on the problems facing people of faith in an increasingly secular world, as well as one on the contentious issues facing Christians.

Subjects like human sexuality are dealt with gently and sensitively. We are encouraged never to pontificate but to accept our grandchildren’s choices with grace and love.

The book is full apposite quotations from the bible and other Christian writers. It is very easy to read, the writer having the wonderful gift of being able to speak apparently straight to the individual reader. There are anecdotes galore, both funny and sad.

I am genuinely looking forward to reading this a second time, and wholeheartedly commend it to any grandparent. Your grandchildren will be much blessed through it.

Ruth Allen is a retired United Reformed minister based in Ilkeston, Derbyshire