This was shared with me a few years ago, and it tugged at my heart so much that I am sharing it with you once more:
Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment – to draw a picture of something for which there were thankful.
Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the 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. Was the teacher’s true child of misery, frail and unhappy. As other children played at recess, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain Douglas felt behind those sad eyes.
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. Still others guessed it was the hand of a Higher Power. And so the discussion went – until the teacher almost forgot the young artist himself.
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 recalled the times she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. How often had she 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 his teacher’s hand.
Brushing aside a tear, she went on with her work.
This story is one of more than simple Thanks Giving. This story speaks volumes as to the power each person has in his or her own hand. So many times we do not stop to think about how much our own touch can mean to someone else. How our own kindness is perceived by another person. Those simple little gestures may be the light in someone else’s day; a smile, a pat on the back, a sincere compliment. Never underestimate the power of a simple, kind gesture. The person you share it with may not even know your name, but they will always remember the gesture and the feeling that comes with it.