Long ago there lived a happy family in the foothills of the Pyrenees. They raised livestock in the hills, mostly sheep and pig, and went into town once a week to trade their meats for supplies. The grandfather, too old for work, stayed in the home and helped care for his little grandson. The father toiled long days in the fields while the mother maintained order in the home. As the years passed the grandfather became increasingly difficult; at dinner he often pushed his plate off the table and grumbled about circumstances.
Grandfather’s behavior became increasingly disruptive at mealtime, causing frequent messes and much broken crockery. The father, tired after his long days sought easy ways to improve the situation and restore peace to the evening meal. The solution was to move grandfather to a different table far away from the family and to serve him dinner on a wooden plate. In a way, peace was restored. The young boy, observing the new family order, spent the next days with carving knife and a piece of wood. The father took notice of the boy’s project and watched with pride seeing his son so focused and determined. The father asked the son what it was that he was making. The son said, “This will be a wooden plate for you Papa when you are old.”
The father understood and brought grandfather back to the family table. Although mealtime wasn’t always smooth, it was understood that caring for Grandfather was more than pushing him away when he became inconvenient.