Katie slid the tray of cookies out of the oven, making sure none of them slipped off. Not too hard, not too sweet; just the way her son liked them. She pulled out her phone and clicked an Instagram-worthy picture of her creation with a smile. It had to be perfect for Davey since he’d be home from school any minute.

A familiar horn blared, announcing Davey’s arrival. Katie looked out the kitchen window to spot the yellow school bus, the words “St. Francis Elementary School” on the side visible even from a distance.

With the tray on the dining table, Katie walked to the front door, eager to see her little guy. One shoulder against the doorframe, she waved to the school bus driver as her second-grade son reached the driveway to the house.

Davey dragged his feet inside, arms flailing. His black eye stood out against his pale face. He wiped his tears with his baby blue, monogrammed handkerchief.

“Oh, honey!” Katie’s eyes bulged as heat rose to her cheeks. She brought a hand to her mouth and gasped, “What happened to you?”

Without paying heed, he kicked his shoes off, ambled to the couch, and slumped into its soft fabric.

Katie ran to the kitchen and grabbed a bag of frozen peas from the refrigerator, wrapping it in a cloth. She rushed back to the living room and knelt to his eye level, holding the bag close to her son’s injury. She laid a palm on his cheek. “What happened, sweetheart?”

Davey sniffed, “Trent hit me during recess.”

Katie cocked her head. “Isn’t he the same bully who’s always picking on you?”

“It’s not just me.” His lip quivered. “He’s always doin’ stuff. Yesterday, he stole Clint’s lunch, stuck gum in Meagan’s hair, and hit many boys with spitballs.”

“Ugh…” She sighed. “Why don’t the teachers stop him?”

Davey shook his head back and forth. “They can’t. He doesn’t listen. He doesn’t care what they do to him. He’s always getting in trouble with the sisters. Last week, Trent was sent to Mother Superior’s office after he wrapped someone up in a soccer net. We’re all scared of him. He’s much bigger and stronger than us.”

As he broke into sobs, she stroked the back of his head and consoled him. “Don’t worry, Davey.” His incessant tears melted her heart. “Maybe he’s just sad and that’s why he acts angry all the time?”

Davey shook his head at her words. “He’s so mean.” He gulped a sob. “During art class, he broke my crayons. When I tried to complain to Sister Joanne, he slammed me into the locker and then threw my water bottle out the window.” He clenched his jaw. “Such a jerk!”

“David Clark Wilson!” Katie crossed her arms. “Watch your mouth.”

Davey stared at the floor, fighting back tears. “Sorry, Mom.”

“I understand, honey, but even if someone is mean, we shouldn’t call them names.” She planted a peck on his cheek and caressed his jet-black hair. “Hang on a sec.”

She sprang to her feet and walked to the dining table. Seconds later, she returned with the cookies.

Davey took a couple and began munching them, each bite bringing color to his cheeks, as a smile stole across his face.

Katie sat next to him and arched a brow. “So, tell me, how did the fight start?”

“He called me a loser. I told him I wasn’t a loser. So, he broke my crayons.” He frowned, rubbing his puffy eyes. “Am I a loser, Mom?”

She hugged him. “No, you’re not.”

Davey bowed his head, and his legs locked together. “But I think I am. I couldn’t do anything while he hit me. I was helpless.”

Katie cupped his face and flashed an endearing smile. “That doesn’t mean you’re a loser, it means you have a loving heart.” She gave him a meaningful look. “Remember, I named you after King David of Israel. The fearless boy who fought Goliath. You know the story, right?”

Davey blinked a few times and stared at his mom.

Katie narrowed her eyes. “You really need to start paying attention in Sunday school, mister.” She tilted his chin to face her. “Okay, listen. Goliath, the mighty giant, was a Philistine warrior. For 40 days, Goliath challenged the Israelites every morning and evening, and they feared him. He was invincible.”

“Wow, that’s so cool.” Davey lit up. “Did he have a cloak like Harry Potter?”

“Not invisible, silly.” She chuckled and shook her head. “I-N-V-I-N-C-I-B-L-E. Invincible. If someone is invincible, they’re too powerful to be defeated.”

Davey wiped the cookie crumbs off his face with his sleeve. “So, if Goliath was in…in-vin-cible, how did David fight him?”

“Faith.” Katie’s lips curved into a tranquil smile. “Faith was all David had. It was all he needed. When he heard about Goliath’s challenge, young David told King Saul he’d kill the giant. King Saul didn’t believe him, but after seeing the shepherd boy’s determination, he gave him his armor.” She shot her son a knowing look. “But David chose to go without it.”

Davey listened to the story intently, anticipation written in his dark brown eyes.

Katie held five fingers high. “Five stones. All he took into battle with him were five smooth stones and all the faith he could muster.” She stared over Davey’s head, picturing the legendary story in her mind. “Being the bully he was, Goliath called him names and ridiculed him. But David didn’t give in to his mockery.”

She paused to stifle a sneeze.

Unable to control his excitement, Davey tugged at her pink T-shirt. “Then what happened?”

Katie grinned and continued, “Unlike David, Goliath wore a helmet, armor, and a sword, the whole shebang. The Philistine slowly walked closer and closer to the boy. He said…”—she scoffed in a hoarse voice—“Come here, and I will feed your body to the birds and the beasts.”

Reverting to her natural voice, she said, “Despite the giant’s threats, David wasn’t afraid. He held his head high and boldly declared, ‘You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down.’ Saying this, David drew out a stone from his bag, put it in his sling, and hurled it toward Goliath. The stone struck Goliath’s head, and he fell to the ground.”

“Woah!” Davey widened his eyes. “That’s the coolest Bible story I’ve heard so far.”

“Tell me about it.” Katie winked. “So, what’s the lesson you’ve learned from your namesake?”

“Hmm.” He leaned forward. “If I have faith, I can deal with any bully, no matter how mighty he is.”

“Exactly.” She validated with a nod and a smile. “And that’s what you’re gonna do. I can call up Mother Superior and complain to her about Trent, if that’s what you want, but I want you to deal with the problem on your own.” She looked him in the eye. “This is your battle to win, Davey. Stand up to Trent and let him know that it’s not okay to bully you. That you don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

Davey pressed his lips together and responded with a curt nod.

Katie pulled him into a comforting embrace, giving him a soft, gentle kiss on his forehead.


The next day, Davey returned home with a wide smile.

Katie was surprised to see his cheerful face, a complete turnaround from the day before.

His eyes sparkled as he licked his lips. “Mom, wait till I tell you what happened today after school.”

“Go on. I’m all ears.” She sat down, eager to hear more.

Davey puffed out his chest like a penguin. “Trent tried to bully me. He pushed me to the ground. But this time, I stood up to him like you told me to do. Trent won’t be bullying me anymore. I’m no longer afraid.”

Drawing a deep breath, Katie patted his head. “I’m proud of you, little man. Can’t wait to listen to the whole story.” She gave him a warm, tight hug. “You deserve a treat. How about we order pizza?”

“Awesome!” He punched a fist in the air.

She looked around, searching for her phone. Spotting it on the couch, she picked it up, only to realize it was switched off. “Dang, I forgot to charge it,” she muttered to herself before connecting the charging cable.

“Mom.” Davey cleared his throat. He added with a glint in his eye, “Maybe you could not charge it for a while longer.” His mother’s eyes snapped to his, unspoken questions in their depths.

“Is there something I need to know, Davey?” Katie asked as her charging phone lit up with back-to-back missed calls from Mother Superior and as many voicemails. She took a deep breath and glanced at her son.

He slipped his right hand into his pocket, rocking back onto his heels. “Mother Superior wants to see you.”

She furrowed her brows. “Wait, what? Why?”

Davey pulled out a bloodstained handkerchief from his pocket and clutched it in his fist. “Remember the story you told me? The one about standing up to your bully?” He grinned like a Cheshire cat. “Just like David, I defeated Trent. I collected five stones from the ground. I put one stone inside my handkerchief and threw it at Trent’s head. Just like Goliath, Trent fell to the ground and started bleeding. He was taken to the nurse’s office.”