Second Best

 A few weeks before Christmas our ten year old son insisted on writing and entering the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest hosted by a community organization in a nearby town.  His assignment was to write about someone who lives or works in that town and how they are like Martin Luther King, Jr.  Knowing that writing is definitely NOT his strength and being swamped with Christmas hooplah, I discouraged him. 

He would not relent.

Nor would he allow me to help him.  He recurited his “Daddy who is much smarter than you, Mom.”  I hear that often so I did not think twice about the two of them retreating to the computer to complete the task. 

I was, however, a little taken a back when the Lad refused to let me read the final result. 


Christmas came and went.  School resumed and life went on, with little thought given to the contest.  Well, no thought until one day last week when a letter arrived in the mail informing the Lad that he had won first place in his age division!  A U.S. Savings Bond was being sent to him soon.  The Lad was shocked.  So were we.  I was feeling quite depressed that day after speaking to his teacher about his poor writing skills.  She even told me that if we were to send him to public school in the near future (which is a huge possibility), he would surely fail the writing portion.  (That makes a momma feel good.)

So, this little essay that I was “against” proved that the boy does indeed have good thoughts.  (His mechanics are another story – that was what the teacher was referring to, I am sure.)

And the subject of his essay?  His mom!

The winners of the contest were invited to appear on stage at the MLK Day Celebration event hosted by the community organization.  In addition, the first place winners were asked to read their works to the audience of a couple hundred people.  There are two scary aspects to this scenario:  the boy has a history of stage fright in previous presentations as well as a slight speech impairment (that I so unwillingly passed along).  The husband did not mention his concerns nor did I but we were both floored by the results. 

Our son came through.  As I was standing on that stage behind that ten year old boy, visions of me being on stage with him over ten years ago appeared.  The husband and I were standing on a school stage quite similar to the one we were on this night, dedicating our first child to the Lord in our church’s worship service.  My heart lept for joy AND I nearly sobbed, seeing that boy approach the microphone and adjust it to fit his needs.  Our son is not a natural problem solver.  He knows he struggles with issues but he stood up to the plate and hit a homerun! 

A few fun facts about this event: 

The night before the presentation, I approached my boy telling him how proud I was of him and that he chose to honor me.  He looked at me and smiled saying, “Well, you know, I would have written about Daddy but he does not meet the criteria [since he does not live or work there], so I chose you, the second best.”  Thanks son. 

While we yawned and yawned through 1,004 introductions, waiting for the contest presentations, I noticed the Lad was acting funny.  I quickly deemed it as nervousness.  I leaned over to him and whispered how wonderful it was to sit next to him (he normally sits by Dad but we were alone in the front row together waiting to go on stage) and I was pleased to be spending time with him.  He put his head on my shoulder and said, ” Thanks, Mom, that just calmed my nerves.”  BINGO.

I might be second best but at least I am worth a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.



This is not the best picture. Our camera stinks!  The husband was so busy video taping, that he was unable to snap a photo of that boy at the microphone.  He looked so grown up!!!!!

Here is his essay:

My mom, a teacher at PCCS, is a very loving, compassionate, and helpful teacher.  She is like Martin Luther King, Jr because when times get stressful, she keeps on helping  people.  Even though sometimes the kids in her classroom get wild, she still keeps on teaching them.  Another reason why she is like Martin Luther King, Jr. is because she uses her talent to help people.  She uses her talent for sign language to help kids sing songs while using sign language.  The third reason why she is like Martin Luther King, Jr is because she inspires others.  She helps kids learn stuff in a fun way and this inspires them to keep on wanting to go to her class and to learn more.  The fourth reason that she is like Martin Luther King, Jr. is that she knows how to solve problems most of the time.  When a kid in her class has a problem she usually knows what to do about it. 

The last reason is that she always uses some of her time to help other people.  She is not just a teacher, she is also a carpool driver and she drives my sisters and me and also three other kids.  She could just choose to take my sisters and me to school, but instead she also takes the other three kids there too.  These are some of  the ways that she is like Martin Luther King, Jr.



  1. jag777
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I’m so proud to call him my nephew. What a beautiful and accurate portrayal of his mother!

  2. EJ
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    How fabulous!! I’m so very proud of him! And so proud to be the aunt, of him and of his wonderful, wonderful mom!!!

  3. theresa and travis
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    YO, awesome job Sam, i was really impressed. congrats on winning that savings bond, I’m sure you’ll put the money to good use 😉 l8tr, Travis N
    (and my mom too)
    (p.s. I’m home sick today)

  4. sheli
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    That is so sweet.

  5. Posted January 21, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Aw, that is sweet. Congratulations to you and the Lad.

    (I thought it ironic that you did not even get MLK Day off from school, LOL!)

  6. Posted January 22, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Very sweet! What a good boy! Congrats!!!

  7. Posted January 22, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that is just too sweet!

  8. purdypress
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Hey there! This is Robin from Derwood, do you remember me? I just found your blog through Anna’s and loved looking at the pictures of your family and reading the sweet essay your boy wrote on what a great mother you are. I am sure every word of it is true and more! My family is doing well, still living in MD and going to DBC. I married my best friend this summer and we just started our seminary degrees at Liberty. Hope to keep in touch. Our blog is
    Love you and miss seeing your precious family!

  9. mjdunbar
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I love this. How sweet! It brought tears to my eyes! Aren’t children amazing? AND..they are watching us:)

  10. Johanna
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    WOW! You guys have such an amazing family!
    My favorite part is that you know how to solve problems, “most of the time”
    Really? I bet he would be surprised that you solve problems more than that =)
    Congrats to him on a great essay and reading and to you on providing such a good example for your family.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: