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 onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on 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. 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 as he sat alone. 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 when I grow up." The four-year-old 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 husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a
fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever
listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb. If they see us
patiently provide a happy home atmosphere, they will imitate that attitude for
the rest of their lives. The wise parent realizes that every day the building
blocks are being laid for the child's future. Let's be wise builders and role