Tag Archives: grandparents

Catholic grandparents: Pass on the baton of faith

August 12, 2014

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“Preserving Your Family: Parents and grandparents working together,” by Dick Bergeson. Self-published. 89 pp. $9.95.

bookimageFormer Minnesotan Dick Bergeson has published a little paperback of advice that he hopes will motivate parents and grandparents to get to work passing on the faith.

Bergeson, long-active in the Catholic charismatic movement and now a grandfather and great-grandfather, shares Scripture-based ideas intended to help reverse what he terms “the exodus from our faith” by younger generations.

He echoes the urging of St. Pope John Paul II for Christian communities to become “schools of prayer,” noting that extended families need to provide both teaching about the faith and the supportive culture that has virtually disappeared from today’s world.

While much of the advice is aimed both at parents and grandparents, Bergeson writes, “It is important for grandparents to be conscious of the extraordinry position they hold in their families.”

The older generations hold a critical role in the faith formation of the whole family not the least of which is because “they have gone through may crises in life and know how invaluable a deep faith in Jesus is,” he notes. “They have seen God act in their lives and in the problems they have faced.”

Praying for family members is primary, along with practicing and teaching a variety of prayer forms, continuing to learn about the faith one’s self, providing a sense of propriety amid shifting cultural trends and living a life of integrity.

Bergeson sees grandparental involvement as handing off the baton of faith to the next generation.

“Grandparents have always provided the spiritual backbone of the family,” he notes. “Grandparents have live through life and have experienced losses, failures, struggles, deaths and have been able to see how God has acted and been there through each one of these crises of life.

He adds, “If they don’t step in, another generation will be lost.”

Bergeson urges mothers, father and grandparents to be a blessing to children and grandchildren.

“This means we need to give them words of encouragement and loving direction,” he says. “We need to remind them of who they are as persons. . . . The most important thing we can do for our children is to make sure they know they are loved and appreciated in our families.”

The overriding goal for all should be to “lay the groundwork for our offspring to get to heaven,” he says. “This is the only thing that matters in life and should affect all of our actions.”

The book is available at http://www.preservingyourfamily.com.

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Catholic grandparents will want to follow Tom McQueen’s lead in passing their values to grandchildren

December 10, 2010








These are just a smattering of the topics author Tom McQueen waxes eloquently about in “Letters to Ethan: A Grandfather’s Legacy of Life & Love.”

McQueen, a marriage and family therapist for more than 25 years, writes about things many of us have wished we’d have said to our own children or grandchildren.

They’re personal stories, intimate thoughts.

They’re original, they’re borrowed, they’re recycled from the Internet.

But combined into 150 some pages in a Seraphina Press paperback ($14.95), they serve to remind us that we who have live much have much to tell and comment on, much to add to the knowledge base of the younger generations and maybe, maybe help them enjoy what we have enjoyed as well as spare them from some of the grief that we’ve caused ourselves.

This is a book full of quotes to savor:

  • “You can read all of the books and study all of the principles of religion and behavioral science and become very smart scholars . . . but none of that really matters . . . because the single most important purpose for living is to know people, to engage people, and to uplift people.”
  • “All true heroes have one thing in common. They all want to do the right thing. Heroes value the sacredness of humanity and will sacrifice their lives to preserve the life, dignity and freedom of their brothers and sisters.”
  • “One of the shocking realities in this world that will take you by surprise when you least expect it is just how quickly your life passes. One day you’ll be sitting in math class looking at your watch and wondering when it’s going to end and in the blink of an eye you’re taking your vitamin supplement to help with that arthritis that’s been bothering you lately.”

There are great lessons McQueen hopes to teach his grandson through these letters, lessons about taking risks, about choosing a life’s vocation (as opposed to a job or a career), about faith and about prayer.

Each and every one is worth your time to read. Each and every one is worth sharing — maybe with your own progeny. — bz

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Help for teaching siblings they don’t have to be rivals

November 4, 2009


“Brown Bear, White Bear,”

written by Svetlana Petrovic,

illustrated by Vincent Hardy

The four-year old and the two-year old sat beside me, their eyes glued to the pages as grandpa read this cute little story.

Neither granddaughter moved a muscle until story’s end.

That’s a good children’s book.

The gist of the tale is that two grandmothers who compete for little Alice’s favor both gift her with bears. The bears, however, don’t get along with one another any better than the grandmas do as they vie to see which one of them Alice likes best.

Their teddy-bear version of sibling rivalry escalates to the point where young Alice needs to give both a time out — something the pre-school set will understand — and some good lessons follow.

‘Adult rivalry’ too

As much as this is a children’s book, adults who pay attention while they are reading it to youngsters have a good chance of picking up on the silliness of their “adult rivalry” for the affection of a child.

And I couldn’t help but wonder if Ellie (age 4) and Sarah (age 2) could transfer the bears’ poor behavior toward one another to the way they themselves sometimes treat each other. That’s going to take some work by adults.

But repeated readings are going to help with that, and sure enough, as soon as we turned the last page of this colorful Eerdmans book the plea came up: “Read it again, grandpa.”

That’s a good children’s book. — bz
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