The Wooden Bowl

This story was posted by Dayu Dayawanti on Facebook, and my sister, Sharon, reposted in a note to  her Facebook friends. Here is her note, in it’s entirety:

I am sharing it with you as it so touched me!
The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

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 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 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 I grow up.’
The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so 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.

Watch on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TC1w3qKQec&feature=sub

Oftentimes we feel the need to “parent” our aging parents. My sister, Natalie, and I have realized that they do not need parenting, anymore than we do! What may be helpful is to become their ally or advocate, gently assisting and alligning with them in their process at this stage of life. I do not know what it feels like to be 80 or 90; so how could I possibly know what is best for them? Somedays I have enough of a challenge knowing what is best for myself. LOL With unconditional love, I am free to allow others to be exactly as they are. I send that love out to you in this note<3

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One Response to The Wooden Bowl

  1. Shelling says:

    This is a really good story! I am constantly giving advice on not being a parent to your parent. I often see that lack of patience, is really just a cover up of being scared.

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