2nd place || 2022
5th through 6th grade
by Anna Roos
When Joel woke up on Saturday morning, his mom came in and kissed him goodbye.
“I’m going shopping with your sister. I’ll be back for lunch.”
Great! Joel thought. I’ve got the whole house to myself because mom and Lucy are gone shopping and dad is at work.
Joel got dressed, not wanting to waste any time. First, he got some breakfast—mom’s special blueberry oatmeal with a heap of brown sugar. Then he went to the living room to eat his oatmeal. As he walked to the living room, he tripped on one of Lucy’s dolls and spilled his oatmeal on the floor.
Oh no, Mom won’t like this! he groaned as he walked to the kitchen to grab some paper towels. He tried to wipe up the oatmeal, but the blueberries stained the carpet. He moved the shelf a bit to cover the stain and finally sat down to watch Jaws.
When Jaws was over, Joel washed the dishes so his mom wouldn’t notice that he ate her oatmeal. He went to his room for his ball and bat so he could practice baseball, then went outside leaving on the television. He wasn’t supposed to be outside while mom was gone.
He practiced throwing his ball into the air and hitting it. Then the ball hit his mother’s red flowerpot and broke it to pieces. Joel raced to the shed to find a red flowerpot to replace the one he broke, but he only found a yellow pot. He put the plant into the yellow pot and hoped his mom wouldn’t notice.
Back inside, he turned off the TV and sat with a book. He was on the fourth chapter when his mom and Lucy returned.
“Come on Joel, time to unload groceries,” said his mom.
“I don’t want to unload groceries,” grumbled Joel.
After the groceries were put away, mom took them to Bonanza.
Joel felt a little guilty about what he’d done but he pushed it to the back of his mind and tried to have a good time.
That night, he thought about telling his mom the truth, and the next Sunday, he awoke tired with guilt. He hadn’t slept much.
The pastor preached on sin. First, he read 1 John 1:9 which says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Second, he read Psalms 86:5, which says: You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
Lastly, he read Micah 7:18, which says: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
“God will forgive us if we only confess and repent of our sins,” said the pastor.
On the ride home, Joel made a decision.
“Mom? You know yesterday when you went shopping?”
“Yes, I remember. What about it?”
“Well I…I…I stole your blueberry oatmeal and put a whole bunch of brown sugar on it and I
spilled it on the floor by the shelf while going to the living room, and it stained the carpet.”
“Joel! You should have known better than to take my oatmeal! And why were you going to the living room?”
“Because I was going to eat there to watch Jaws.”
“Joel! Jaws is not a movie for a 9-year-old to be watching. What else did you do?”
“I broke your red flowerpot while playing baseball.”
“You should not be playing outside while I’m gone.”
“I’m sorry mom.”
“I forgive you, but you will have to pay for the flowerpot, oatmeal, and brown sugar, and you’ll have to buy carpet cleaner to clean the carpet. All that put together is about ten dollars.”
“But mom! I can’t do that! I don’t have enough money! It’ll take years to do that!”
“Well, if you do the chores I tell you to do every day, I’ll pay you four dollars a week. In three weeks, you’ll have two dollars extra to use as spending money.”
“What if I help Mrs. Finkleston mow and rake, and she pays me the money? Do I get to keep that money?”
“Yes, you can. Now here is five dollars. Go get some carpet cleaner and keep the rest to add to your spending.”
Joel worked hard for three weeks. He was happy he had repented and didn’t receive a worse consequence. At the end of the third week, Joel proudly paid his debt.
Anna is an 11 year old homeschooled student who loves reading. She enjoys spending time with her siblings and serving in the nursery at church.