A Spelling Bee M-I-R-A-C-L-E

That's what it would take for my 6-year-old to win...

Posted in , Feb 2, 2015

AJ holding the spelling bee first place ribbon

“Mom, can I bring two chicken legs for lunch?” my 6-year-old son AJ asked, smiling sweetly at me. I sighed. My son always made me proud—he’d recently been selected as one of two first graders to compete against two second grade students in the school’s spelling bee—but I wished he wasn’t such a picky eater. After all the delicious, healthy lunches I made for him came back to me uneaten, I’d finally given in and packed one of his favorite foods—a fried chicken leg. I was hoping he’d tire of it quickly—now he wanted two?

“Are you really going to eat two chicken legs?” I asked.

 “One’s for Kyle,” he explained. His lunch buddy. Kyle usually bought lunch from the school cafeteria. How nice of my son to think of someone else! For the rest of the week, I packed him two chicken legs, impressed by his generosity.

Kyle’s mom called that weekend to thank me for AJ’s kind gesture. We got to talking about the spelling bee. “Does AJ know how to spell ‘beautiful’?” Kyle’s mom asked.

Beautiful? I had no idea. Why that word? Did she have some inside information? “No, nothing like that,” Kyle’s mom said. “It just popped in my head.” Amused, I called AJ over and asked him to spell it. B-E-U-T-I-F-U-L… he missed the silent “a.”   

In the days leading up to the spelling bee, I drilled AJ on his words. I made a point to throw “beautiful” into the rotation. He kept getting it wrong. If AJ couldn’t spell that word, did he have much of a shot at winning the bee?

The big day arrived. My husband and I took our seats in the school auditorium. I felt as nervous as AJ looked up on the stage. He spelled his first word correctly, then his second and third. His opponent had one word left to spell.

“The word is… ‘beautiful,’” the announcer said.  

I held my breath. AJ’s eyes grew wide. Even wider when his opponent fumbled over the word and misspelled it. My son couldn’t stop smiling as he finally nailed the word he’d been practicing all week.

All thanks to a chicken leg. One B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L act of kindness.

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