by Rick Shrader
This 2018 book by Cavin Harper, founder and president of Christian Parenting Network, has been mentioned and recommended by numerous other writers in this subject. The strength of the book is his strong promotion of grandparents as necessary examples and speakers to the younger generations. I thought the best section included grandparents as gatekeepers and story tellers. As gatekeeper, the grandparent is a defender of children and grandchildren from the sins of the world; by story teller the grandparent is one who tells the history of the family and the faith of the family to younger generations. I also appreciated that twice in the book Harper approached the subject of salvation in children though in a very general way. To me, the weakness of the book is the section on giving “blessing” to children though he presents this as a lost spiritual exercise. He says, “The purpose of speaking blessing is to be a conduit of God’s grace so they understand who they are and how precious they are. It affirms their identity as an image-bearer of God” (p. 98-99). He also includes laying on of hands as a way of “confirming His gift of grace” (p. 99). To me, this kind of language sounds apostolic or at least charismatic. I think he simply misuses the word “blessing” when he means something like encouragement. At least that is how he ends up explaining “blessing.” He even admits, “There is no command or instruction in Scripture about how or when to do a spoken blessing.” Also, “For some unknown reason, the Christian community never included it in the teaching of the church for families” (both on p. 108). Telling for sure. But I take that subject as an unfortunate use of terms that shouldn’t spoil the other good things in the book.