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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: DJ's Five!
By Marilyn Meiners


“Are you guys in, or not?”

With basketball in hand, DJ stood his ground. He looked intently at the five boys gathered around him. Two were tossing a football between them. The rest were standing in the background, watching to see what was going to happen. With narrowed eyes and a deep frown DJ seemed to be challenging them with a “you-better-do-as-I-say-or-else” kind of look.

I was standing at my kitchen sink washing lunch dishes when I looked out the window and observed this group of nine-year old boys in our backyard, one of them being my son DJ. I had to chuckle at his demeanor, he was the epitome of a very strong-willed boy.

“What was he up to now?” I thought. With DJ, anything was possible. These poor boys were about to get a life-lesson from this little boy.

“But we always play basketball”, stated Darrell. “I’m tired of basketball. I want to do something different. Let’s play some football.”

Steve chimed in with his two-cents, “Yah! We never play football. Hey guys, all who want to play football, follow me.”

“Count me in” said Erik. “I’m in the mood to play some good-old-rough-and-tumble football.”

“OK, guys.” DJ said with authority. “Here’s the deal.

Oh, this was going to be good. These boys were about to come face-to-face with what ‘strong-willed’ means. By this time, I was smiling to myself. I have had many a run-in with this strong-willed child. I remembered a time when he didn’t speak to me for three days. He was so certain the “silent treatment” would make me give in and he would get his way. What he failed to consider was his mom could be pretty stubborn as well, when she had to be. Mom didn’t give in. DJ didn’t get his way. DJ soon found out there would be no manipulating mom. But, could he manipulate these five boys?

“I’m the one who suggested we all get together” DJ stated rather matter-of-factly. “You’re at my house. There is a basketball hoop in my backyard. I have the basketball in my hand. You all have your sneakers on. We can play three-on-three. “

“So?” challenged Darrell.

“So,” DJ continued. “If we want to play football we have to walk over to the park. That’s a long walk. By the time we get there we’ll be too tired to play. Besides, who wants to play football with only six guys? Think about it. We’ll come home dirty and then our moms will make us take a shower. Do you guys like to take showers all the time? I don’t.”

“Me either”, Erik and Steve said in unison.

“Besides, if we stay here to play I’ll ask my mom to make us some lemonade.”

Lemonade! I’m not even sure I have lemons in the house. DJ what are you doing?

“OK, so it’s settled” DJ said, dark eyes peering intently into the faces of his five friends. He continued, “We don’t want to walk to the park now, do we? We don’t want to get all dirty from rolling in the grass either, do we? And we certainly don’t want to have to come home and take a shower.”

Five heads all bobbed in agreement.

“Enough talk, let’s play,” Dennis stated with authority. “Grab the basketball and let’s get this game in before it’s time for dinner. Are you all coming?”

Five boys walked single file behind their proud leader as he headed off to our basketball hoop in the backyard. I noticed these five soldiers had a defeated scowl on their faces, and one little boy - a strong-willed one at that - was leading his troop with a very satisfied smile and eyes dancing.

I guess I better check on the lemons. DJ was certain to announce soon, “lemonade anyone?” As always, he would be confident his mom would come to his rescue. Oh how I love this kid, even if he does keep me challenged. Then I’m reminded of Moses, who in my mind was rather strong-willed himself, and yet God broke that will and Moses became a great leader.

“God, thank you for putting strength into my son, but, Father, please take out of him all that would hinder his service for you. Oh! Gotta run Lord! I hear six laughing boys coming in the back door. Guess it’s time for lemonade!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
D. Phenes05/08/09
Cute story! I like how in or out was not decided till the end of it. Great job!
Micheline Murray05/09/09
very cute--I like that he persuaded the 5 boys by convincing them that basketball really was the better choice--not by being mean--would like more stories about him!
Jan Ackerson 05/10/09
Very captivating!
Janice Fitzpatrick05/11/09
Cute and believeable-I like the comparison of her son to Moses and the quick prayer at the end. I hope she had lemons or her strong willed son may try to convince someone else to come up with refreshments, because they used his basketball hoop.:0) I love stories with children in it and this was well written.