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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)

TITLE: Perfect Es
By Rhonda Clark


Frustration and sadness filled Timmy. He stared at his homework paper, and wondered why his letters didn't look like the ones printed at the top of the page. He had held his pencil just like Mrs. Hampton had taught him and made the lines of the capital E just like she showed, but still his didn't look like the printed ones on the paper. A puff of air filled his cheeks, and then forced itself past his lips. I'm never going to get this, he thought.

From the kitchen, Susan could see her son at the dining table. The way his head rested in his hands told her that his homework wasn't going well. Her heart pained. It was difficult watching her dyslexic son struggle to learn every letter of the alphabet. Without a sound, she walked over and took a seat next to him.

Timmy knew his mother was there, but didn't look up. "Mommy, I wish I was smart."

Susan wanted to be angry. She knew why he had said this. With a gentle hand, she stroked his silky hair. "Are the kids in your class teasing you again?"

Nodding his head, he replied, "Yes ma'am. Carson and Daniel say I'm not smart 'cause I don't write good."

The hair on the back of Susan's neck stood up. This was not the first time these two troublemakers had stirred these feelings in Timmy. She wanted to give those two a good spanking for belittling her child. A silent prayer calmed her irritation and compassion filled her soul. She bent over so she could look at her son's face. "I know those boys say mean things, but you do your best, don't you."

Timmy nodded his head.

"That's all that matters to daddy and me," Susan replied with a smile.

Dropping his arms to the table, he said, “But I just wish I could write like everybody else."

With her voice almost a whisper, Susan continued, "If you were like everybody else, then you wouldn't be Timmy. Besides, Carson and Daniel are everybody else. Do you want to be like them?"

For a moment Timmy let his mother's words soak in. Shaking his head, he answered, "No ma'am. They get in trouble all the time, and they're mean. But…" His voice trailed off.

"But what?"

With his eyes fixated on the perfect Es, he replied, "They do write really pretty."
Susan's voice became stern as she lifted her son's face with her hand. "Timmy, what have we talked about? For every weakness God gives us, He gives us a strength to balance us out. Your weakness happens to be dyslexia, but your strengths are many. You're funny and handsome, you can draw pretty pictures, play the guitar, and above all, you are smart."

Timmy furrowed his brow and poked out his lip. "If I were smart, I'd be able to write pretty."

"Listen to me. The reason God gives us weaknesses is so that we will depend on Him. If He didn't give us any weaknesses, then we wouldn't understand that we need Him."

"Mommy, I'm confused. If God loves us, why didn't He make us perfect?"

Susan sat back. How was she going to explain that answer to her first-grader? Then, as she stared at his homework paper, it hit her. "Timmy, look at this paper. See the row of Es that are at the top? They are perfect, right?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Okay, let's say that God made those Es. Now, look at your Es. Are they perfect?"

"No ma'am." Timmy pointed his stubby finger at the printed Es. "They don't look anything like those."

"Exactly. They are Es, but they aren't perfect Es, right?"

"Yes ma'am."

"That's how we are. God makes everything perfect. Just like those Es at the top of the paper. But then we come along and try to do things on our own and mess them up. That's when we see how imperfect we are, and that we need God to guide us. If we didn't see our imperfections, then we would never realize how much we need God."

The boy's eyes lit up as if a light bulb had been switched on. "So, by me having dyslexia, God is showing me how much I need him?"

"Exactly," Susan said as she smiled.

Timmy sat for a minute and then declared, "I guess I better get to praying or I'll never get the hang of these Es."

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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood01/18/07
I enjoyed reading this story. Beautifully vivid descriptions and dialogue as well as an encouraging message. I could see, hear, and feel with both the little boy and his mother as though right there.

It would be good to stick to only one point of view--either the boy's or the mother's--throughout the narrative, or else break the story up into two sections to show both perspectives.

Was relieved to hear the mom finally reassure her son he was smart!
Marilyn Schnepp 01/20/07
I, like Timmy, am confused. Is it an "S" (Es)he's trying to make or some "E's"? Secondly, if he's only 6 (first grader) the mother used much bigger words than one would expect...such as "imperfections", "balancing things" and "weaknesses" etc. which I found too adult for a 6 year old; perhaps I'm wrong...but that was my view of conversation; but otherwise it was a very sweet story...and nicely done.
Pat Guy 01/21/07
This is a beautiful precious encouter of love, and the tender lessons we as parents struggle to teach.

Your entry flowed well with the converstaion between mother and son - you captured the sweetness of his struggle and age. Kudos all around on this writing!
Marilee Alvey01/21/07
This was a charming way to teach about how we are imperfect and need God. Without him, we will continue in imperfection, but, through the filter of Christ, God looks down at us and our E's are perfect! I liked the dialogue between the mother and her son. I've had much the same talk with my sons. There are always kids out there who want to suck the joy right out of others. I always wonder where they go, what happens to them, and if they ever become aware of how cruel they were (or perhaps still are!) Thanks for the memories!
Leigh MacKelvey01/21/07
I almost worte an entry like yours because I'm a teacher of children with learning disabilities and "writing" is a big thing with all of them. Whether it's reversed letters or just plain old motor skill deficiency,they all worry and struggle with writing. You wrote it very well and your message was clear and poignant. Thanks for bringing out this problem to others!
Joanne Sher 01/22/07
I love this little boy!! Such a tender and sweet heart, and so realistic! I enjoyed the dialogue and the wonderful, wonderful lesson (one I needed today!). A great read!