The Wooden Bowl

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 20, 2013

Kleenex Alert!!!

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.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things :
a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage
and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’
is not the same thing as making a ‘life…’

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you
but, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can,
happiness will find you

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
  1. I’ve actually seen this before, but it’s still good. I, too, still have a lot to learn, and I’ve been at it a long time. Thanks for stopping by and liking a post.


    • ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

      I too have seen it before, but I agree…a story worth re-reading. I take care of my grandma now and there are days I get so frustrated, like yesterday when she broke a glass and I cut myself picking up the pieces….but re-reading that story just now puts a lot of things into perspective. Thank you for sharing!


  2. seeker said:

    I always enjoy reading this. And it’s true that you can tell a lot about a person on how they handle those four elements in life (I prefer to call it elements than things) especially the elderly. Thank you for posting.


  3. At least he got to eat in a home, unlike hundreds of thousands of elderly, shut away without anyone to care whether they drop the peas on the floor.
    Great story with a thoughful ending.


  4. I’m always learning from my son. He was blessed with Down syndrome so speech is very limited, yet he has taught me the most wonderful lessons about this life. Great story. AS ALWAYS!!


    • Today is World Down Syndrome Day, so give that son of yours some extra love and attention today!! How blessed you are to have an eternal child. The others grow, mature and build their own lives; they are still ours, but not in the same way that Down syndrome children remain ours. God Bless you and your son!!!!!


  5. This is one of my favorite stories. I wrote the screenplay for a short film based on “The Wooden Bowl”. Great lesson to be learned!


  6. I always love reading your stories, some have even gotten me a bit misty, not this one. There are too many flaws in it. No plausibility.

    Someone dense enough, evil enough to get upset over spilt milk from an elderly father (especially so quickly) wouldn’t get it when their son was ‘making their bowls’… Poor people don’t think like that, they’re too humble. Rich, pampas people could sink to that level (maybe, but I doubt even that)… The point is this: These people would have put dad in a home. That’s just the first problem. The second is a little more “real”… Should those people be evil enough to treat their father like that there’s no way they would catch on and see the error of their ways so quickly. They’d laugh the first few signs off. Finally, someone that terrible would assume that they’d be better off when they were older – that they’d be different. Just a few thoughts. For these reasons I didn’t need Kleenex for this one.


    • This is such an old folk tale from so many different cultures–German, Hispanic, and Asian come to mind. When the Brothers Grimm wrote The Old Man and His Granson, it had been told hundreds of thousands of times already… It’s a far older story than homes for the elderly are!


  7. "Working for Christ" said:

    Awesome, Kenny T! God bless! 🙂


  8. mom923 said:

    i love reading all of your blogs, your refreshing and enjoyable. thank you for the neat stories.. God bless.


  9. Is there a double-love button? Teaching by example is a tremendous resposibility. My father in law says we need to watch our wake.


  10. ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

    Reblogged this on ramblingsofabipolarwoman and commented:
    I needed to share this! I have read this story before, but it didn’t have quite the same meaning that it does now. I take care of my grandma now and there are days that are so trying, days when I just have no patience, days when I wonder how I’ll make it through all of this….but then reading this again puts so much into perspective.

    It’s not easy for me watching her as she is now, not when I remember her once being so vital, so capable. And yes, it is frustrating…like when she broke a glass yesterday and I cut myself picking up the pieces. BUT….sometimes I need to be reminded that this is not easy for her either. She too is frustrated that she needs help with so much she never needed help with. She is frustrated when she can’t remember how to do something she’d been doing for years. She doesn’t like needing a walker, grab bars in the bathroom, etc. This has been so difficult for her emotionally and mentally…sometimes I forget that. I needed to see this today to be reminded…


  11. cate b said:

    I great story to put us into the right perspective….. I may need to read this daily.


  12. Thank you for your posts which always encourage and at times make me ask myself the hard questions.
    As a carer it is somtimes difficult but I always ask myself how would I like my parents to be treated or even myself . Yeah compassion is what Christ taugth us. I’d like to reblog.


  13. Reblogged this on declaringhispower and commented:
    At times we do thins without thinking how the other person feels this was a reminder. What goes around comes around.


  14. There are many times when children show us how childish we really are. Outstanding post.


  15. prayingforoneday said:

    This puts my mood in a different place and in a good way.
    Great read. I somehow relate in a strange way. And I won’t forget.



  16. Rosanna Bonaccurso said:

    Where are those tissues!


  17. You were right about the kleenex. Out of the hearts and mouths of babes!


  18. Time is a very concept- circumstances change very fast and the one down today can be up tomorrow (and vice versa)


  19. I remember my pastor telling this story many, many years ago. You’re right–I never forgot it.


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