«Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children»(Proverbs 176, NLT)
One of the many stories of the brothers Jacob and Wilheim Grimm is about an old woman who became a widow. Her son and daughter-in-law welcomed her to live with them and their little daughter so she would not be lonely. The grandma was healthy, but the natural ageing process made her lose her sight, hearing, and sense of coordination. When the family had their meals at the table, the old lady sometimes dropped her food or spilled her drink because of her trembling hands. One day, when the woman spilled a glass of milk on the table, her son and daughter in-law got upset and made her eat at a small table at the corner of the kitchen where they stored the brooms and cleaning products. With sadness and resignation, the old woman ate there, isolated from her loved ones
One night, before dinner, while the little girl was playing with some building blocks, her father got intrigued by what she was building. The girl explained, “I’m building a little table so that when you and mom are old, you could eat at the corner of the kitchen.
That night, while watching their mother eating alone in the corner, they burst into tears and decided from that moment on that granny would eat with the rest of the family at the big table. From then on, they did not mind the old lady’s clumsiness
Today’s text holds great wisdom in few words. It covers three generations. Regarding grandparents, it says that their grandchildren are a crown to them. As for children, it indicates that their parents are their pride. All of us are included in this text, though not all of us are parents or grandparents, we are all children and we all owe deep respect to the previous generations.
The Scripture entrusts us with the care of the elderly of our family, especially of those who are in need: «But if any widow has children and grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents» I Tim. 5:4). This responsibility is not limited to satisfying material needs but also showing consideration, respect, and honor, just like the commandment which says, «Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you» (Deut. 5:16)