The Wooden Bowl

by Kristina Sloggett

in real life wisdom

It seems the universe was in line with yesterdays thoughts to Stop and Smell the Roses, as it snowed enough to keep us in most of the day. I enjoyed my tea in one of my favorite cups – reminds me of one of my favorite cities.

In honor of my ongoing Switch Your Focus started by my friend Lindsay, I thought I’d share an email my mom sent me today. It takes a minute to read, but it is something you’ll remember for a long time.


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 andfailing 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 up 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 the 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 with 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 or wife seemed to care 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 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 God, 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.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather (Where's the Beach) February 25, 2011 at 5:20 am

What a great post my friend. Truly wonderful. I love the lessons learned. I was going to do a post on the little things today so this post is very apt for me today.


2 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

oh, good! so glad you liked it. I look forward to yours, as always. :) Happy Weekend, My Friend!!


3 Sabine @ thefruitpursuit February 25, 2011 at 5:29 am

I loved this post! so true that you can tell a lot about a person by how he/she handles certain situations. I used to be irritated, frustrated and aggrevated 90% of the time, aggresive often too. Now I am much calmer, happier, more balanced. I think it starts from within, finding inner peace, before you can act peacefully towards (crappy) situations.

the story of the old man was painful to read for me, but the ending is lovely. thanks for sharing!



4 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 8:24 am

yes, the story starts out a difficult and sad read… I hope to always have the perspective and compassion to treat people gracefully – I do need to reel in my reactions sometimes, getting frustrated about things that are really too silly to expend the energy… I like to think I’m getting better each day :)


5 Holly @ couchpotatoathlete February 25, 2011 at 6:30 am

Kristina what a lovely post — it had all sorts of “lessons”: be patient, be loving, there are more important things than spilled milk! Really, I enjoyed reading it and your reflections at the end. Being positive in every aspect of your life really impacts your mood, how others see you and how others treat you!


6 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

it’s AMAZING how things YOU do can impact your mood… being patient is a huge one, and one I sometimes still have to work on, truth be told… having perspective is good :) Happy Friday, Holly!!!


7 S @ February 25, 2011 at 8:08 am

a virtual hug to you, Kristina! This post really hit the spot. Thanks!


8 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

I am so glad!! :) I am still in a happy happy place from your email last night… we were out for the evening (thus no response to your first one), and coming home and reading that REALLY made my night. seriously, I was giddy. THANK YOU. happy friday, friend!


9 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) February 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

I love this post! You are truly inspiring with your words. I have really gotten a lot from you this week and I really appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share! I hope you have a great day!


10 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

thank you, Sarena. that makes me happy to hear… I hope it has been a better week for you and that It continues to improve <3


11 Biz February 25, 2011 at 9:15 am

What a wonderful post – it is especially poignant after spending the last week and a half at the hospital with my husband – I just wanted us to get home so he could heal – and look forward to the warmer weather so we can sit outside, watch some baseball on t.v. and enjoy each others company – sometimes its the little things that mean so much!


12 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

I’ve been following along – I’m glad he’s doing well and GLAD HE IS HOME ! the little things are Most Definitely important… enjoy your weekend!! <3


13 Kris | February 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

You are gorgeous! This post is so real and so beautiful. I think being true and really feeling from your heart and showing from your internal power or god really helps everyone.

We really need to all take this lesson and apply it!



14 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Thanks, Kris! as difficult the beginning of the story is, it is very profound and comes with powerful lessons! You have beautiful internal power :) XXO


15 lindsay February 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

amen to that! What a great story. So heart touching. Thank you so much for sharing this Kristina. It really has been a joy to get to know your heart.
Happy Friday.


16 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Happy Friday to you, Lindsay! Thank you for being a true inspiration.


17 Stephanie @ Thorns Have Roses February 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

What a great story. :) Little people certainly place perspective on life. This morning more than 3/4 of the post that I worked on last night had magically disappeared when I woke up. I almost cried or panicked. Instead, I went about my day deep breathing and thinking through my thoughts. By the time I was able to focus and re-write it…I felt just fine about the re-write. Because I just won’t let things I cannot change affect my disposition for the worse. This was such a beautiful post. Love the lessons you’ve learned. :)

Have a great weekend!


18 spabettie February 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

thank you, you have a great weekend too!!

I totally agree, children have an innocent perspective, and are refreshingly honest!!


19 MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College February 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

This post was wonderful and so warming. Thank you for sharing that e-mail, it was a fantastic story. I really enjoyed and took the heart the tips and insights that followed.


20 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

thank you, Meg! I’m happy you liked it and it had a positive thought for you. Thank you for reading, hope you are having a great weekend!!


21 Heather @ kissmybroccoli February 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Thank you for this post, Kristina! Every line was so perfect and truly touched my heart!

My favorite: “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.” LOVE!


22 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 9:27 am

I’m so glad you liked it too… the story at first is a sad one to read, buts ends well… you can only hope they all do. :)


23 Christin@purplebirdblog February 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

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

SOOOOO eternally grateful I have found my passion for massage so I can help spread positive touch to so many! xo


24 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 9:23 am

the fact that this line spoke to you and provoked an energetic response … you will be an amazing bodyworker. I’m excited for you, and for the industry to have you!! <3


25 Kelly February 26, 2011 at 3:40 am

Oh Kristina, stories like that make me so sad for the elderly. You clearly have such a good heart. Thanks for sharing that with your readers. :)


26 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

I agree, Kelly, it was a difficult read at first, and the fact that this most likely happens makes me sad… you can only hope when it does, there’s some perspective to make change.


27 Jess February 26, 2011 at 9:20 am

Wow. That story totally touched me…and the message behind it? Well damn girl, you have a way with words! I loved this, everything about it made me smile. As I sit here, happy as a clam in my nice warm house with my husband by my side, and the quiet of the day surrounding me. Just lovely.


28 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

aww… thank you!! and YOU have a way with words… your description totally made me happy… enjoy your time with your husband.. that’s nice :)


29 Lisa February 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Wonderful post. Love it! Thanks for sharing :)


30 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm

your welcome, Lisa!


31 Katherine: Unemployed February 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

touching! I wish I had more to say but I’m just moved by this. thanks


32 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm

thank you! sometimes there are no words… thanks for letting me know it touched you :)


33 Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons February 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm

awwww this was a fabulous post and a great story! I’ve been working a lot on switching my focus too so that I focus on the good and not the bad of each and every situation. life is sooo soooo short and we have to be our happiest selves ever or we totally miss out!

love ya girly girl! xoxo


34 spabettie February 26, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Thanks, Jenn – I’m happy you liked it :) and you are SO right… life is too short to not show up in the most positive way!! 😀


35 Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty June 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

sniffling fool!! You have no idea how much this pertains to me today!! haha I did think it snowed there though, I was feeling bad for you!!

Thanks, love this xo


36 Barbara | Creative Culinary August 26, 2011 at 10:31 am

Great story and very wise words. I worry that my daughter and her friends are missing opportunities to really connect with people because they think that texting and Facebook are enough. I need to send her this. Mostly so she’ll stop making that wooden bowl for me. :)


37 spabettie August 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I know, it’s so different from when we were kids, right? I would spend my time outside, playing, and as a teenager, with friends in person. 😉 computers add a whole new dimension!


38 Tad November 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm

incredibly written post!!!


39 xanda December 2, 2011 at 4:56 am

ah, so nice!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: