He Hadn’t Told Anyone.

Shane came home one day with a big bag of candy, pencils and other fun stuff. He didn’t say anything about it for several hours, until I stumbled upon it.

“What’s this?”

“Some kid named Jellybean gave it to me,” Shane said.

“Jellybean gave you some candy?” I asked. It sounded like a joke waiting for a punch line.

“Yeah,” Shane said. “There was this letter in it, explaining why.” He pulled out a piece of paper. It read:


this certificate is awarded to


in recognition of

“The Darkness in Love” (First Prize)

Shane had won first prize for the story he’d entered in the school writing competition!

And he hadn’t told anyone.

He’d gone out for ice cream with his grandfather. He never said a word. After ice cream, he’d been home from school for hours. He hadn’t mentioned it to his brother or me.

When he finally did, of course, I started to cry. I am so proud of him! I smiled and cried and jumped up and down.

“Congratulations!” I squealed, hugging him.

“Thanks,” he said. He smiled.

“This is awesome news!” I said. “And you didn’t even mention it!”

“It’s not that big a deal,” he said.

“It is a big deal!” I told him. “You won first prize for your story! That is a HUGE deal!”

“Not really,” he said. “Probably just not that many people entered the contest.”


“Shane,” I said. “Probably that many people did enter the contest. And your story was chosen as the absolute best one! Remember when you won the Chairman’s Choice Award for photography?”


“Did you think that was a big deal?”

“I guess so,” he said.

“This is every bit as big a deal as that! Maybe even bigger! You wrote a story and the judges thought your story was the best one! This is great!”

“You know what’s not great, though?” he asked.

I sighed. “What?”

“All the candy they gave me is stuff I can’t eat with braces,” he said.

And he’s right: it’s all chewy, gooey stuff that he’s not allowed to eat for another year. But somehow, I think that’s not the point.

His humility astounds me.


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