Friday, 17 February 2017

Just a little hand.

My apologies for the use of this same painting again but I hope you agree it fits with my thoughts today. 

Yesterday I was walking with my friend, just the two of us. Somehow or other we got to talking about teachers who had made an impression on us. I think maybe it was because I had been talking about Ian the friend on my blog the other day there, who changed my whole life.

There is not doubt that teachers can have a very positive effect on those they teach, often without knowing it. They can also have a very negative effect. It is such a marvellous honour to be able to influence and mould young lives. 

I feel privileged to hear from students and they tell me I made an impact on them. 

Reminds me of a true tale.

Christmas Day was near. 

The teacher gave her class what she hoped would be a fun assignment. She asked them  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  Christmas 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 the break, Douglas was likely to stand close by her side. One could only guess at the pain that 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 the other students. 
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 the next task, 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.
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 reaches out.
It is not always easy to offer the hand of friendship but it is always worth the time it takes to do so.
Have a wonderful day. Whose heart might you touch this day. 

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