Today’s story is for parents:
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four year-old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.
The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his fork on to the floor. When he held his glass, water spilled on the table cloth.
In time the son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the old man’s mess.
“We must do something about grandfather”, said the son.
“I’ve had enough of his spilled drinks, noisy eating, and food spilling on the floor.”
So the husband and wife set up a small table in the corner.
There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed their dinner at the main table.
Because grandfather had dropped and broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
When the family glanced in his direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat eating alone.
Even so, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled his food.
The four-year-old watched all this in silence.
One evening before dinner, the father noticed his son carving some wood and making a mess on the floor.
He asked the child “What are you making, son?”
The boy responded, “Oh, I’m making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food from when I grow up.”
The four-year-old smiled sweetly and went back to his task.
His words thunderstruck the parents. They were speechless.
Then tears streamed down both their cheeks.
Though no word was spoken, both knew what they had done.
That evening they both took grandad’s hands and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family at the table. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the table cloth got soiled.
We teach our children by our actions. Those speak much louder than our words.
Acknowledgements: Petrina Petterson