The Wooden Bowl
-- Author Unknown
A frail old man went to live with his son, his daughter-in-law and four year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled -- his eyesight was blurred and his steps faltered.
The family ate together nightly at the dinner table. But, the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made his eating rather difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon on to the floor. When he grasped the glass often the milk would spill on to the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about grandfather" said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dining room table. And, since grandfather had broken a dish or two -- his food was served in a wooden bowl.
There were times when the family would glance in the older mans direction, he would often have a tear rolling down his face as he ate alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
All the while -- the four year old watched in silence.
One evening before supper the father noticed his son playing with some wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the little boy responded, "Oh, I am making a wooden bowl for you and mama to eat. Then he smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.
That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And, for some reason, neither the husband, nor the wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled or the tablecloth soiled.
I've always remembered adults saying, "Careful little eyes and ears, can see and hear." This is so powerfully true!! Little children process everything and they like to mimic what the adults around them do!
If they see us patiently love -- joyfully smile -- and peaceably react, they will hold these attitudes for the rest of their lives. A wise parent will carefully lay building blocks of learning -- because those blocks are being laid for the child's future!
Unfortunately, we do not get a "do over" with our children. So make a point to sincerely "think" before you act -- especially if there are little ones at your feet.
One day, those little ones -- may be making decisions for you!