By Lois Rogers | Correspondent
When internationally known Catholic author and speaker Allen R. Hunt set out to write his new book, “Dreams for Your Grandchild,” he took to heart what Pope Francis has said on the subject.
“How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage, which is so essential for each and every society” the Pope had proclaimed in a speech on Grandparents Day in Brazil during World Youth Day there early in his pontificate.
These words and other pronouncements from Pope Francis on grandparents affected Hunt so strongly that he excerpted them on the back jacket of his new book, subtitled “The Hidden Power of a Catholic Grandparent.” There, they set the tone for the 160-page book out from Wellspring Books at $24.95.
Hunt makes it plain from the beginning that the core dream of every Catholic grandparent is welcoming a new generation that will grow up to be healthy, happy and vibrant. But with so many influences competing for youngsters’ attention – school, sports, social media, societal pressures – grandparents often wonder how much of an impact they can really have, especially when it comes to matters of faith.
This book is all about answering their questions with a series of seven key ideas – ranging from bestowing lavish love on the grandchildren to modeling the faith for them – offering questions to reflect on, action steps and practical tools. In clear language, Hunt cuts through contemporary jargon and charts a course that grandparents will find easy and natural to navigate.
Throughout, he builds on a foundation of personal stories, memories gleaned from his own experiences and the experiences as a grandparent and other grandparents he has encountered along the way.
Especially moving are stories from his own life: the birth of his first grandson, for instance, a tiny premature infant who hovered delicately in this world at first and then, with good medical help and much prayer, blossomed with health.
The story of a young man born without hands and feet but always encouraged by his stalwart grandmother is another compelling tale, as it takes the reader along with both family members as the grandson crawls to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, fulfilling their shared dream of reaching the summit.
It’s a course designed to help readers enhance their relationship with their grandchildren, one which, hopefully, will enable them to become positive role models of faith for the new generation God has gifted them with.
Hunt is a convert to Catholicism whose books include “Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church,” “Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody” and “Nine Words: A Bible Study to Help You Become the Best-Version-of-Yourself.”
He stepped aside from his 15,000-member, evangelical megachurch and converted to Catholicism in 2008. Since then, he has been on what he refers to as “a remarkable journey.”
Hunt now serves as the senior adviser at Dynamic Catholic, a multi-faceted outreach that “aims to re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism,” according to its website.
In that capacity, he has become a nationally known Catholic communicator, Bible teacher and best-selling author. He received a master’s of divinity degree from Emory University, Atlanta, before earning a doctorate degree in New Testament and Ancient Christian Origins from Yale University.
Hunt and his wife, Anita, have two daughters and four grandsons, and their devotion to their children and grandchildren figures prominently in the book, as have the lessons they have learned from participating in their faith development.
In tackling the book, Hunt advises either reading straight through or taking a chapter-by-chapter approach. The later will help those who want to take notes that can evolve into a plan they can turn to for inspiration when reaching out to their grandchildren.
Perhaps his best advice is to realize becoming actively involved in passing “the torch” of faith as Hunt often refers to it, is “a marathon, not a sprint .. a long-distance journey to be looked upon as a vocation. … You have been given the opportunity to inspire your grandchild for a lifetime.”