A frail old man lived 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 trembling hands of the grandfather 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 father,” 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 one or two dishes, 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 4-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before dinner, the father noticed that his son playing with scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you doing?” The boy answered softly, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The 4-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.
Moral: You reap what you sow. Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.
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