Grandpa’s Table

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year 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 their dinners together.<>

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 in when you get old.”<>

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 for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives.<>

The wise parent realizes that every day that building blocks are being laid for the child’s future.<>

Story contributed by Michael John Bation<>

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