The Cats in the Cradle: a book review

My parents are both nearing retirement. Now that I am pushing forty, that isn’t as old as it used to be (It was really old whne I was in my twenties). My mom and dad are still active and I suspect they have many good years ahead. Yet they are aging. My father who hands were always strong now hands me the pickle jar to open for him. My mother is on her own entropic journey. Yet

Aging is a reality and the day will come when I will have to take a more active role in caring for my parents. As a pastor, I walk alongside others, both aging parents and their caretakers. So I was interested to read Nancy Parker Brummett’s Take My Hand Again: A Faith-Based Guide For Helping Aging Parents. Brummett walks through issues that adult children face as they care for their parents at the end of life. This includes helping them get their paperwork in order, making decisions about living and care, whether parents should keep driving, and helping them leave a godly legacy.

This is billed as a ‘faith-based’ approach to helping aging parents and is published by Kregel, an evangelical, Christian publisher. For the most part, it isn’t particularly ‘faith-based’ so much as practical and helpful. All the chapters have a Bible verse epigraph and maybe a verse or two is quoted in the text, but the advice that Brummett doles out is helpful for Christians or non-Christians alike. The exception would be the last couple of chapters that speak more directly to the idea of spiritual legacy and eternity. I think the broad appeal to this book is actually good. Most of the issues around issues aren’t Christian, or secular. They are human. God cares about our mundane, ordinary concerns and I appreciated the practical way Brummett addressed the real needs of aging parents. If you are looking for a book about the spirituality of aging, that is a different book.

As I said, my parents are aging but not agéd. They are also well prepared. They’ve prepared a living will, chosen someone to manage their finances when they are gone, and have seen to some of those practical details. Still I liked Brummett’s practicality and think this is a useful book as parents age. I give it four stars.

Notice of material connection: I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.

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