The Wooden Bowl

By Greg Nathan posted October 7, 2020

There was an old man who went to live with his son and daughter-in-law. He was hard of hearing, his hands would shake, and he had failing eyesight. When he sat at the table to eat with the family, he slurped his soup, and some of his food would spill onto the tablecloth.

His son and his son’s wife became increasingly irritated with the noisy eating and mess, and decided they had to do something. So they made him have his meals on a little bench in the corner of the room. Because he had dropped and broken several dishes, he was given his food in a wooden bowl with a wooden spoon.

There he would sit alone with a tear in his eye, glancing occasionally at the table where the family ate together. The only words the couple had for him were admonitions when he dropped the spoon or some of his food on the floor. But he said nothing and only sighed. 

The four-year-old grandson watched all this in silence. One evening before dinner the father noticed his son playing in a very concentrated manner with some scraps of wood on the floor. “What are you doing there?” asked the father kindly. The boy looked up and said sweetly “I am going to make a wooden bowl and spoon for you and mummy so you can eat your food with it when I grow up.”

The parents looked at each other speechless, and then began to cry. That evening they gently took the old grandfather’s hand and led him back to the family table. From then on, they always let him eat with them. And for some reason, they didn’t seem to mind anymore if he did make a little noise or spill a little of anything.

This beautiful story, based on a Grimms' Fairy Tale, is a timely reminder of our duty to care for the elderly. It also highlights the power of empathy and a timeless truth - what goes around comes around.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan
Franchise Relationships Institute

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