The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment – to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful. Most of the class would celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season. These, the teacher thought, would be the subjects of most of her student’s art. And they were.
But Douglas made a different kind of picture. Douglas was a different kind of boy. He was one who the teacher considered to be shy, quiet and lonely. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side.
Yes, his picture was different. When asked to draw a picture of something for which he was thankful, he drew a hand. Nothing else. Just an empty hand. His abstract image captured the imagination of his peers.
Whose hand could it be? One child guessed it was the hand of a farmer, because farmers raise turkeys. Another suggested a police officer, because the police protect and care for people.
When the children had gone on to other assignments, she paused at Douglas’ desk, bent down, and asked him whose hand it was. The little boy looked away and murmured, “It’s yours, teacher.”
She then recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often she had said, “Take my hand, Douglas, we’ll go outside.” Or, “Let me show you how to hold your pencil.” Or, “Let’s do this together.”
Douglas was most thankful for the hand that reached out.