His Teacher's Hand
At first it sounded like a thanksgiving story, but the
more I reflected on it, the more appropriate it seemed for any time of
the year. The way I heard it, the story went like this:
Thanksgiving Day was near. 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 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. He 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 God, for God feeds us. 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,
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.
The story speaks of more than thankfulness. It says
something about teachers teaching and parents parenting and friends
showing friendship, and how much it means to the Douglases of the world.
They might not always say thanks. But they'll remember the hand that
© 2001 Steve Goodier
Story courtesy of Life
by Steve Goodier