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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Questions for Mommy
By Mandy White


Six year old Olivia sat securely strapped into the back seat of the minivan biting the heads off her animal crackers while listening to her mother’s phone conversation.

“Yes Susan, we are on our way. This will be a very important committee meeting. We will be discussing ways to improve the church’s benevolence program. We didn’t have much input at the last meeting, so I revamped. . .


“Not now Olivia, Mommy is talking about important church benevolence business.”


“Susan, you’ll have to call me back. –Yes Olivia?”

“What is be. . . benev . . .”

“Olivia, the word is be-nev-o-lence. It means showing kindness to those who are hungry, poor or sick. Do you understand?”

“Yes Mommy”

Content with her mother’s answer, the freckle-faced little girl resumed the beheading of innocent circus animals. Now sitting at a stoplight, she looked out her window and noticed a dirty looking man holding a sign. H-U-N-G-R-Y, she sounded out with her new reading skills. She looked down at her animal crackers.


“Yes, Olivia”

“Look at that man. His sign says he is hungry. Can we give him my animal crackers?”

“Honey, we are running late for our church meeting. The shelter will help that man.”

A little further down the road, Olivia began to feel a little hot and sticky in her new winter coat. Her mother insisted that she wear it on such a cold day, but since the van was so nice and warm inside, she decided to take it off. Stopped at a school crosswalk, Olivia pressed her face against the window and studied the parade of children. They were all bundled up in coats, hats and mittens - all except one small girl. Her gaze fell on the little girl whose only protection from the biting wind was a light jacket that seemed about two sizes too small.


“Yes, Olivia”
“That little girl looks very cold. Maybe her mommy doesn’t have enough money to buy her a pink coat with a fuzzy hood like mine. Can we give her my coat? I have another one at home.”

“Honey, the school clothing closet can give that little girl a coat. We really can’t be late.”

The stoplight right before the church was in front of the children’s hospital. Olivia had her tonsils removed there last year, so she recognized it easily. While waiting for the light to turn green, she saw a woman sitting on a bench crying.


“Yes, Olivia”

“Maybe that mommy’s little boy or girl is sick. Can we go give her a hug?”

“Honey, look the church is right up ahead. The hospital has people that will talk to that lady if she feels sad. Oh, there’s my phone again. Hello – yes Susan, we are pulling into the parking lot. The focus of this meeting will be to discuss how we as Christians can best show the love of Christ to those less fortunate.”

Olivia thought about her mother’s explanation of benevolence and how Christians should show love. She thought about the hungry man, the poor little girl and the sad mommy with the sick child.


“Yes, Olivia”

“Are you a Christian?”

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.
I John 3:18 (NIV)

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This article has been read 770 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/28/08
Ouch! After the first instance, this story followed a fairly predicatble pattern, but you provided a super twist and a great kicker at the end. Very well written.
Jacquelyn Horne02/28/08
I liked this example of the topic. How often this is probably true.
Joanne Sher 02/29/08
LOVE the end. Really hit me. It was a bit predictable in the middle, but the detail was quite good.
Tim Pickl02/29/08
Out of the mouths of babes... Excellent story on the topic!
Seema Bagai 03/01/08
Well-written with a good ending.
c clemons03/01/08
Good job.
Andrea Hargrove03/02/08
I agree with the others who said this was somewhat predictable, but I think that "works" here. That was an incredible last line, too, that wrapped it all up so neatly.
Debbie Wistrom03/03/08
Ouch, oh the lack if diplomacy of the little ones. I feel that we may have placer here, keep writing.
Lynda Schultz 03/03/08
Out of the mouths of babes! Double ouch. Great work.
Joshua Janoski03/05/08
The ending really pierced me. I began to think about myself, and how so many times in the past, I have driven past people in need, assuming that someone else will take care of them. Thank you so much for your story filled with truth and conviction. It was a joy to read. :)
LauraLee Shaw03/05/08
Your heart really shines through this piece. My kids are ALWAYS the ones who point out the truth about my flaws and weaknesses, and I think God is so good to give us that perspective. You could've picked a hundred different ways to approach this message, but I love that you used the questions of a precious-hearted little child. :)
Julie Arduini03/05/08
The end is a great punch. Well done!
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
Hard questions indeed! I didn't see the last question coming, but boy did it fit in well with this piece. I love Olivia, what a darling little girl! You did great with this piece! ^_^
Sherry Castelluccio 03/05/08
Wow! Loved that last sentence, what a killer. This is a great reminder for me, being the mother of a five year old. I am the example she watches day in and day out. It's a constant question- does she see Jesus in me? Well done, newbie (on the boards, that is). Looking forward to seeing more of your work.
Sara Harricharan 03/06/08
****Congratulations! This was a well-deserved win!****
Sheri Gordon03/06/08
Congratulations on your EC. The dialogue was excellent, and the scenario probably way too familiar in Christian families.
Chely Roach03/06/08
Congratulations Mandy...this was excellent. I loved the last line. Ouch!
Karen Ward03/07/08
I love this. Congratulations on your EC win!