Mr. Browne's December precept is that “fortune favors the bold.” He asks the class to write about a time they were brave. Jack thinks hard about the assignment and thinks that the bravest thing he did was become friends with August, but he doesn't write about that because he's afraid Mr. Browne will make them read theirs out loud. He wonders what August will write about and thinks that August probably has lots of things to write about.
When Jack focuses more on August's bravery than his own, it shows him beginning to expand his recognition of others' lives and experiences. In doing so, Jack shows clearly that he's coming of age. The fact that he thinks about this because of a precept shows too the power that teachers have to push their students towards maturity.