As an elderly man began to experience the frailties that come with aging, he went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and 4 year-old grandson.
The older man had shaky hands, blurry vision, and he also had trouble walking. One night, the family was having dinner together at their table, but the grandfather’s shaking hands and failing eyesight made eating difficult for him. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor as he tried to eat them, and his milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and his wife became annoyed 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.”
The husband and wife decided to set up a small table in the corner for the grandfather to eat at alone so that he would not mess up their meal. The elderly man was served food in a wooden bowls that he could not break it, and he had tears in his eyes as he ate all by himself. Even so, the only words his son and daughter-in-law had for him were admonishments when he spilled something.
The 4 year-old grandson watched the entire scene unfold without saying a word. After dinner, the boy’s father saw him playing with some wood chips on the floor, so he asked him, “What are you making?”
“Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up,” the little boy said sweetly. These words hit the boys’ parents like a ton of bricks, and they both began to cry as they realized what had to be done. The next night, the husband took grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. From then on, the elderly man ate with the family at the table, and they never complained of his spills again.
The moral of this story is aging parents are not to be discarded but loved with more care and tenderness because eventually we all get older and would want the same compassion handed to us.
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