Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)

Living and Growing: Be thankful for the opportunity to care for ‘Others’

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, we are reminded of the importance of being thankful. If you are feeling low this Thanksgiving season, I would prescribe the Tucker Approach to life. Your life and the world around you will change.

Seven-year-old Tucker was sitting on his electronic device playing his game as his mom was talking with his aunt. As he waited for the next level to load he heard his mom say “if we don’t get all three steps in Thanksgiving will be ruined.” Tucker heard “Thanksgiving will be ruined.”

His mom was struggling with her turducken, it was her first time making it. She continued “if we don’t get the three steps in just right we will have to remember that being thankful will have to do for this Thanksgiving.”

Tucker slowly put his device down, walked into the kitchen and asked his mom, “mom, is Thanksgiving really going to be ruined if we don’t help ALL 3.” Mom said, “that’s right kiddo.”

“Who are all 3?” Tucker asked as the phone rang. Mom looked at him and said, “Thanksgiving is going to be okay kiddo.”

Mom got up and walked toward the fridge and Tucker walked back to his device. Mom yelled as he got to his device, “screen time is done grandma’s going to take you shopping.”

Tucker turned off his device, slipped on his Extra Tuffs. Grandma walked in and said, “let’s go kiddo, your mama has a list longer than my leg.” They hopped in the car and Tucker asked his grandma “who are all three in order to make Thanksgiving great.”

Grandma looked at him with a quizzical expression and said “To feel the real power of Thanksgiving you need to think of others. When you help someone else, your Thanksgiving will be great. I guess if you help three then your Thanksgiving will be three times greater.”

Tucker asked, “who are the three?” Grandma replied, “you will know.” Tucker squinched his brows together and looking down at the ground thinking, “that doesn’t help me.”

As they got into the store Tucker hopped out of the car and skipped next to grandma heading toward the store. They stopped as grandma put money into The Salvation Army Red Kettle. As grandma talked with the guy holding the bell he looked around and saw a little girl leaning against the building. She was wrapped in an oversize coat, and the shoes that peeking through the bottom of the coat were worn and had a hole by the big toe. After grandma was done shopping they hopped back into the car.

Next they were at the local coffee house. Tucker was excited, he always got a cake pop when grandma got her coffee. As they walked into the coffee house, he saw a man sitting at the table outside the coffee shop with his dog. He looked hungry. Grandma got her fancy drink and Tucker got a hot chocolate and his cake pop. Grandma said, “don’t drink it to fast, it’s still hot. AND don’t eat that cake pop to fast, you can get sick.”

Grandma then stopped in to see grandpa at his office. Grandpa always gave Tucker a couple dollars when they visited his office. He would say stuff like, “don’t spend it all in one place” or “save it and it will add up.” Tucker always used it for candy and toys, and often spent it all in one place. It’s the holidays and grandpa must have been in a real good mood, because he gave him $10. Tucker thought, “I can get that Lego set,” he has been eyeing it for some time now. He was super excited.

As grandma was talking with the lady at the front desk of the office, he overheard someone in the office on the phone saying that their Thanksgiving was not going too well. “With the price of groceries, it seems like it will be impossible to have a full Thanksgiving meal.” Tucker had grabbed a flyer at the grocery store to color on, when grandma was talking to the man with the bell. It had, a place to call if you need help with Thanksgiving.

When he got home, grandma noticed, he didn’t have any shoes on. She asked him, ”where are your Extra Tuffs?” Tucker said, “I gave it to the little girl by the bellringer, she looked like she needed it.” Grandma smiled and thought to herself “those were nice boots,” but smiled proudly, that he felt the need to help.

Then grandma said, “where is your hot chocolate cup and cake pop?” Tucker shrugged his shoulders and said the man at the table outside looked hungry, so I let him have it.

Grandma tilted her head and said, “do you want to go to the store for the Lego toy you have been eyeing?” Tucker said, “no thank you.” Grandma replied, “Really!? Are you sure, you have the money grandpa gave you.” He said, “the lady in grandpa’s office needed it for her Thanksgiving.” Grandma said, “who needed it?” “The lady in the office, I gave her my coloring sheet that said, ‘need help this Thanksgiving and my $10.’”

Grandma looked quietly at Tucker for a long time. She did not see the little girl, she did not see the man or the woman she walked passed every day at her husband’s office.

Tucker walked over to grandma and said “now I know why mom said, we need all three, so Others can enjoy Thanksgiving with us.” He smiled and ran off with his device in hand.

Want to make your Thanksgiving memorable? Take the Tucker Approach. Look around, you will see the “Others” in our world. Let’s do our best to not be blind to the opportunities to help Others this holiday season. When we help “Others” we can create Thanksgiving in someone else’s heart.

Christmas Eve of 1910 the first general and founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth wanted to inspire and encourage officers, soldiers and members of The Salvation Army around the world. He sent a telegram with one word – “OTHERS!” The Salvation Army still helps Others to this day. Need help this Thanksgiving or Christmas, sign up at Want to help Others this Holiday season, call and see how you can help.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Change your world but taking care of the “OTHERS” and our world will be better. Happy Thanksgiving

• Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. “Living and Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

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