Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)

TITLE: The Home
By Sheldon Bass


Benny was a twelve years old boy, who lived in St. Petersburg Florida and enjoyed the beach. The surf helped to alleviate the ache in his soul. Benny felt he had no place to belong and no one to accept him. His father had been in and out of jail for the last five years and when he was home he was usually drunk. Mom had died when Benny was six.

Benny sensed that he was nothing but an irritation to his father. He would verbally lash out at Benny and sometimes hit him, so the boy would run away from home. Three times Benny was placed in a foster home. But even there, nobody really cared for him in that special way families are supposed to care. The distraught boy felt that he was nothing more than an inconvenience. Benny found the streets to be a better alternative than life in a house that was not a home. Each time he ran, he was caught and sent to another loveless house.

Once more Benny was taken into the custody of the State of Florida. If this final placement did not work, the next stop for Benny would be Juvenile Detention. Benny had now been placed with Carl and Helen Wheaton, the best strawberry growers and purveyors in central Florida.

Farming had been a way of life for the Wheaton family for many years and another farm hand was always welcomed. However, both Carl and Helen missed having young ones around the house. The empty nest syndrome had set in right after their youngest son went off to college. Benny was suddenly showered with lots of love and attention.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton treated Benny just as they had all of their children. For the first time in Benny's life he felt like he was worth something. But the heavy labor on the farm really took some getting used to. Plowing fields, running fence lines and even animal husbandry was hard work. They had milk cows and horses too and Benny enjoyed being around them.

At first Benny complained to his new foster dad that his hands were always sore. Blisters were developing from digging post holes and swinging a hammer and a dozen other small jobs, all of which are necessary on a farm.

Carl sat down and talked to Benny, explaining that work is a blessing in more ways than one. The irritation to his hands would soon form calluses and his hands would grow strong. Carl also told Benny, "It is the same with our character. Many times it is the very things that irritate us, which shape our character and help develop a mature and resilient spirit. Irritants can help us grow to be good stalwart people. It is our responses to them that determine whether they will weigh us down or cause us to grow and mature."

Benny finally had the love, acceptance, and safety every child needs. He missed his dad though, and before long, he decided to forgive him. His mind and soul were quickly healing and his life took on meaning and purpose.

Soon, Benny realized the truth of what his new parents were teaching him. His hands were that of a strong, hard working farmer. Benny's character also blossomed into that of a fine young man. He realized what he had found here in his new home was something his father never had either. Benny spoke to his new family about this.

Benny was fifteen when a strange car motored up the dirt driveway of the farm house. The driver sat for a moment without getting out. Soon, Carl came out and stood beside Benny on the front porch and said, "That's the new farm hand we hired last week."

Then, the new worker stepped from the car and walked up to the porch. As Benny recognized his father a big smile spread across his face. Benny's dad ran to his son and embraced him. All he could say was, "I'm so sorry son."

Benny replied, "It's okay dad. It only served to make be better and stronger."

Benny's dad turned out to be one of the best hands the Wheaton farm ever had. The environment helped, but it was the display of love and acceptance that made the biggest difference. Benny's father never drank again, and they had adjoining bedrooms in the huge house that was truly a home.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE

JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 755 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 11/16/12
This is a wide-ranging story, with a great ending. It's well-earthed (if you'll pardon a farming pun!) and it feels totally credible.
However it suffers slightly from too many mentions of Benny's name, when you could use pronouns or word pictures like "a young bundle of scared confusion," or describing his facial expressions to convey his inner thoughts. Check over how other members apply the principle of "showing not telling," so your writing will draw your readers where you want them to go.
Keep on writing, because you have a strong style.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/18/12
This is a touching story. My heart really ached for the MC. I'm not big on titles and I usually skip over them but as I was starting to comment the impact of your title really hit me. It wasn't A Home but THE Home. That little word makes all the difference Benny's other foster families could have been described as a home, but he didn't know happiness until he found The Home.

All writers hear the phrase show don't tell and then spend the rest of their days trying to perfect it. I'll try to give you an example to show what I mean. This sentence tells the reader about Benny:
Benny felt he had no place to belong and no one to accept him.
But by using some active verbs you can paint a picture for the reader: Benny stood and watched as a sense of loneliness washed over him. Had anyone ever loved him? Tears mingled with a spray of saltwater as the waves pounded the beach.
I mixed some of the opening back story in to help give the reader a mental picture and also a sense of despair. It's not a perfect example but if you can master the art of showing you will quickly move from a beginner to a master.

You did a nice job of making the topic the center theme of your story while teaching the MC and the reader a valuable lesson. I really enjoyed the ending. it comforted me and filled me with a sense of hope. You do have a natural talent for storytelling. :)
Darleen Coon11/22/12
Nice story! You do have a natural gift for story telling.

Hats off to all the Wheatons out there, who foster kids and turn them into loving, kind, hard working adults.

I loved that he was able to reconcile with his dad in the end and have a relationship with him.
lynn gipson 01/03/13
This is wonderful, and my kind of story. I love that Benny finally found someone to love him and got his dad back. Very well written and told. You shouldnt stay in beginners very long. God Bless, Lynn