The Wooden Bowl

I came across this story and found it very meaningful and touching, and so decided to share it here with fellow Kiasu Parents here.

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 learnt that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learnt 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 learnt that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’

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

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

I’ve learnt 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.

Most importantly, I’ve learnt that I still have a lot to learn.


yes, parents are role model of their kids

thanks for sharing the story..

a good reminder for us :)

a good reminder for us 🙂

Good examples with the ILs as well?

Quote chatelaine, "Parents should set good examples to their children. Children will treat their parents the way they treat parents and others."

Don’t forget to include that the good examples should also be set when handling the in-laws as well.. yes, children are always observing indeed.

What a lovely sharing, Happy Mama. Thank you for this. It is heartening for me to reflect upon this; that perhaps i did do the right thing with the ILs? But then when i went to IKEA recently, i read a sign literally flapping under the strong aircon breeze almost calling out to me to look up above and read (which i did) and it read. DOORMAT. 😛 That’s when i realised, naaah… mebbe not? Hmmm..

Nice reminder!

Good story that we can share w our kids (:

It actually keep people thinking & reflecting.

Thanks for sharing (:

Oh, I remember this story and

Oh, I remember this story and I like it very much. It really teaches us values.

Thank you chatelaine!

Thank you chatelaine!

Good one!

Parents should set good examples to their children. Children will treat their parents the way they treat parents and others.

Yes tree nymph, 上梁不正下梁歪 was

Yes tree nymph, 上梁不正下梁歪 was what I told Augmum in the earlier reply…. how true right?

上梁不正下梁歪 - well said!


Well said well said!

But I’ve also seem kids who doesn’t ‘follow’ set examples.  Maybe we still need to instill them these values when they are growing up too.


that's rite, happy mama, the

that’s rite, happy mama, the most appropriate word to use is 上梁不正下梁歪……..parents are the best role models to kids.

Hi Augmum, yes we parents are

Hi Augmum, yes we parents are indeed our kids’ role model. Like the Chinese saying 上梁不正下梁歪… So if we want our kids to learn well, we must lead by example.

happy mama, indeed an inspirational and touching story

happy mama, indeed an inspirational and touching story. i first came across this story when my gal (and her k2 classmates) enacted this story in her k2 graduation ceremony. it was so touching to watch……..

we, parents, are role models to our children and children are very perceptive, so we have to often remind ourselves that they are watching, listening and imitating our every moves.


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