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The Sixty Minute Grandparent  

Rob Parsons sensitively and wittily shares his wisdom on becoming the best grandparent you can be

The Sixty Minute Grandparent
By Rob Parsons
Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN 978-1-444-74570-2
Reviewer: David Stuckey

60 minute grandparentMy credentials for being a parent, let alone a grandparent, were slim. An only child, slightly spoilt and certainly cossetted, having children of my own around the house was a marital milestone I found daunting. But with an understanding and thoroughly capable wife, I managed well enough.

Now we are grandparents of five – three boys and twin girls, and the rewards are endless and thoroughly enjoyable. Rob Parsons echoes many of the pleasures and pitfalls I discovered along the way and covers them with his trademark good humour and common sense.

If, in recent years I have found myself uttering the phrase “In my young day …” before criticising the overuse of hand-held devices or mobile phones, it’s a comfort to know that Rob has personal experience of the same. Other things of course (childhood illnesses, the familiar traumas of ‘growing up’) never  change with the generations, and grandparents are handy to dispense the knowledge they have accumulated through similar circumstances.

The generation gap is the widest gap you have to cross – and perhaps wider today than it has ever been. Each generation brings its own chasm of growing pains. Your parents experienced it, you remember the same with your kids and know the grandchildren look to you for wisdom and a whiff of nostalgia.

Rob also sensitively covers grandchildren with disabilities and peppers this slim volume with snippets from case histories and the occasional welcome witticism. But most moving is a poem entitled “When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking” written from the viewpoint of a young child who appreciates how their grandparent hung their first painting on the fridge, made their favourite cake, prayed, cared … and sometimes betrayed a tear or two. All the emotions that come to each of us - and just by ‘being there’ we can teach our grandchildren so much.

The responsibilities are huge, but the lessons last a lifetime and beyond. Nice one, Rob. 

David Stuckey is a journalist and member of Maghull Baptist Church

Baptist Times, 02/05/2014
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