A Thanksgiving Message
November 26, 2020
This Thanksgiving is not like any other Thanksgiving we have ever had.
Many of us have to set aside the age old traditions of family gatherings and big meals that have defined “Thanksgiving” for as long as we could remember.
This year, we are learning to say thank you to each other more creative ways, or maybe more meaningful ways than sharing a meal.
One of my favorite stories of Thanksgiving is a non-traditional one, but one that makes you want to dial that # to the one person who held your hand when you needed the most.
(This story was published in Readers’ Digest few years ago, and republished last month).
Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighborhood, actually had something to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.
What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglas’s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglas’s drawing was simply this:
A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. “I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student.
“A farmer,” said another, “because they grow the turkeys.”
“It looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.”
“I think,” said Lavinia, who was always so serious, “that it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.”
Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive.
When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.
Douglas mumbled, “It’s yours, Teacher.”
Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas …
Perhaps, she reflected, this was her Thanksgiving, and everybody’s Thanksgiving—not the material things given unto us, but the small ways that we give something to others.
For this Thanksgiving let us try to remember those who held our hands when we needed them the most. Let us take a little time to say “thank you.”