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
His son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the
mess." We must do something about Grandfather," said the son.
"I've had enough of the 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 food in when I grow up."
The four-year-old smiled and went back to
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
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
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 the building blocks are being laid for
the child's future.
Let's be wise builders.