Monday, March 9, 2020

J and the Spelling Bee

#SOL20 Day 9

Tonight, J participated in the district's spelling bee final.  Each of the seven elementary schools is represented by students who place at the top of their school's bee.  Of the 494 students in the district's 4th grade, 23 enter the final bee.  They are all winners.  I would guess that they are all nervous, too.

J really didn't want to do it.  He says he's not a strong speller, and I argued that he is in the Derivational Relations book of Words Their Way.  Tonight, I persuaded him to get dressed for the bee with promises of a Shamrock shake from McDonalds or a Blizzard of his choice at the DQ in exchange for going and trying.  "Really?!" with that response, I knew I had him.

He missed his word in the third round, walruses.  After he claimed his seat next to me he whispered, "-es, right?"  I nodded yes, and we silently watched kids spelling word after word.  Finally, after spelling words like prefabricated and defenseless, a girl from a different elementary was named champion.  I don't remember which words she spelled to win.

Afterward, as we close the doors to the car, I tell him that I'm proud of him.  "I bet you'll always remember the word walruses."

He shakes his head yes, then says, "There wasn't too much crying."

I'm surprised because I wonder what he knows about crying at the bee.  I don't think kids at his school were upset, but maybe I didn't notice.  I answer, "Nope.  It seemed like a good spelling bee.  I thought those last two girls might spell all night."

"I can see how you might cry at the spelling bee," he says thoughtfully. 

I wait quietly for him go on because I'm curious as to why he would say this.  Did he feel like crying when he missed the plural ending of walruses?

"I mean I don't really care about it.  I didn't even want to do it anyway.  BUT if I did want to win, and I had studied and I thought I would win, then I would probably cry when that bell dinged."

This boy melts my heart.  "That's empathy, bud.  That's one reason why I love you so much.  Now, let's get some ice cream."


  1. Love his outfit and love what is on the inside even more. Tell J we are proud of him! And what a great story to explain empathy to other students that age.

    1. He is a sweet boy. Thanks for the message to him. I'll pass it on.

  2. Such a sweet boy! When my son was in third grade he made it to the spelling bee. He didn't really want to do it, but he made it through. He didn't win, but all of those kids are so brave for getting up there.

    1. That's what I said. It takes courage to get on a stage! Then to have to think and recall, wow!

  3. Aw, he is such a sweetheart. That truly is empathy. And having a kid who is empathetic is the world. You must be so proud!

    1. I am so proud! Thanks for sharing in my joy of the moment.


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