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 spoon and food rained onto the floor.
When he grasped a glass, with his shaking hands milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.
So, they set a small table in the corner. There grandfather ate alone, while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since, grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
When the family glanced in grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye.
Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions, when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening, before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”
Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.
That evening, the husband took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table, and for the remainder of his days, he ate every meal with the family.
For some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
Children are remarkably perceptive.
The wise parent realizes that every day, building blocks are being laid for the child’s future.
And maybe, just maybe, their own.