A frail old man went to live with his son and daughter-in-law, and four year old grandson. The old man’s eyesight was blurred and his hands trembled. The family ate together at the table but the grandfather’s failing sight and shaky hands made eating difficult. Food rolled off his spoon and when he grasped his glass, water spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. “We must do something about grandpa”, said the son. I have had enough of his noisy eating.
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There grandpa ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since grandpa had broken some plates in the past, his food was served in a wooden bowl. Whenever the family glanced in grandpa’s direction, he was always sad because he sat alone. Still the only words, the couple had for him were harsh admonitions when he drops a fork or spills food. The four year old watched it all in silence.
One evening before dinner, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked his son child sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl to eat your food when I grow up”. The four year old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Tears started streaming down their cheeks. Though no words were spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took grandpa’s hand and led him back to the family table. For the rest of his days, he ate his meals with the family. And for some reason , neither husband nor wife seem to care any longer when a spoon dropped, water spilled or the tablecloth were stained with food.