Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Experiencing Brandon's Heart

*I recorded  all these different experiences regarding Brandon all on the same day 1/5/93.  So this really is just one journal entry all about Brandon.   

Jan 5th, 1993

I had a sweet experience with Brandon tonight.  We had just finished with our scriptures and prayers.  As I got up from saying my personal prayers, Brandon was laying down on the love seat.  All the other kids had hurried off to their bedrooms.  Brandon looked so sad so I asked him what was wrong.  He said that he was sad because of a sin.  Being a little startle by that,  I asked him if he had prayed about it to Heavenly Father and he told me he had but didn't feel like he had been forgiven.  I asked him if he would like to tell me about it.  He then told me that after tithing settlement a few weeks ago, dad had taken the boys to MacFrugals to buy some stuff.   Brandon had found a bag of jelly beans with a hole in the bag.  He told me that he squeezed a jelly bean out of the bag and ate it.  As he told me the story, his eyes filled up with tears.  He was so sincere and really sad.  I told him that if he had asked Heavenly Father to forgive him and he promised to never do it again , then all he needed to do was forgive himself.

We had been talking a lot in our family scripture study about Jesus' atonement and what that means to us individually.  We asked the boys to think about the pain that Christ suffered for them when they are thinking about doing something wrong.  I think Brandon was receptive to what we taught him and felt remorse for the jelly bean ordeal.

Brandon has a very sensitive side to him.  He feels so bad when one of his brothers get into trouble.  When he was little, he use to offer to go into the  bedroom with Derrick and keep him company when Derrick got sent to his room. He still hates to see a sibling punished.  I think he'd almost rather take the punishment himself than to watch his brothers go through it.

One experience that really stands out in my mind happened about a year ago.  Brandon must have been seven. Jared and the boys collect baseball cards.  Brandon found a pack of cards that belong to Jared and he opened them up.  The pack of cards were probably only worth a couple of dollars, but we were upset that he'd take something that didn't belong to him and that he didn't ask first.  So after Derrick brought it to our attention (something Derrick was more than happy to do).   Jared talked to Brandon.  I felt so sorry for Brandon; he was so sad.  He was really upset about letting his dad down.  He told his dad how sorry he was about it and then went into his room and got some money for the pack of baseball cards and gave it to Jared.

A few days later, I was cleaning my bedroom and I saw a note on Jared's pillow.
It said: "Dear dad, I'm sorry that I took your baseball cards without asking first.  Will you please forgive me?  Signed your son Brandon"

Another special experience I had with Brandon was when he was five and a-half years old.  I had just sent the big boys (Derrick & Brandon) to bed and told them to turn off their TV set after their program was over.  Jared and I went in our room to watch TV and at 10:00 pm 20/20 came on and we started watching a documentary on the orphans in Romania.  It showed video coverage of the children in cages, being treated like animals,.  It showed the horrible treatment of these children and the filth they lived in.  I couldn't stand it.  It was making both Jared and I so upset.  We turned off the TV.  After it was off, I heard Brandon just sobbing.  As I got to their room , I saw their TV was on the 20/20 program that Jared and I had been watching.  Brandon just looked up at me from his bed and asked me if this really was happening to these children.

Not sure of what I should do or say, I got him up out of bed and took him with me into the living room.  I had no idea as to how I would comfort him.  I felt I needed comforting myself because of what I had seen.

As we sat down on the couch I looked over at the fireplace hearth and saw all of our scriptures stacked up.  I thought of what we had been reading about in the Book of Mormon as a family.  We were in 3 Nephi where it talks about Christ visit to the Nephites. Just a few nights before, we had read about Jesus blessing the little children and how angels came down and encircled the children as a ring of fire and  ministered to them.  We had talked about the special relationship that Jesus has with children.  The boys were fascinated with this discussion.

As I sat there on the couch with my very upset Brandon, I thought about the Savior and the children.  I reminded Brandon about what we had studied.  I held him in my arms and told him that the children who suffer horrible things on earth, like those little Romanian children that he saw on TV, that they would someday be in the arms of Jesus and he would  bless and care for them just like he did for the little Nephite children.

It was a very sweet, tender experience as we discussed the  "favor" that Jesus has for all of his children.  Brandon seemed to be comforted by my words and the remembrance of what we had studied as a family.  I asked him if he'd like to kneel  down and pray with me so we could have Heavenly Father's spirit with us.  He did and we knelt together and prayed.  It was an experience I will always cherish.

Another experience I had with Brandon was when he was five and in kindergarten.  In our family scripture study, we were in Alma 5.  It talks about Alma preaching to all those he had baptized. Alma asked his people  if they had  "received His image in their countenances".  Jared tried to explain what that meant  as best as he could so that the boys would understand.  Jared has a great quality of being able to simplify the scriptures and portraying them in a way so that they kids can relate and really understand.  I was sure that Derrick was understanding what it meant to have Christ's image in your countenance, but Brandon was having a little more difficulty with it.

Jared told Brandon that people should be able to look at him and see Jesus in his face because of his actions and words.  I think Brandon was taking it literal, but we did the best we could and we moved on.

The next day, Derrick had gone to  school and I was hurrying to feed lunch to Brandon, Daniel and Travis before Brandon left for  afternoon kindergarten.  I got the boys  up to the bar and made them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and  I told them to hurry and eat fast.  Brandon  got my attention and said: "Mom,  look at Travis".  I looked at Travis and he was sitting on his bar stool folding his arms.  I responded:  "Yeah, Travis wants us to say a blessing on the food before we eat."  Then Brandon replied:  "Mom, I think I see Jesus in his face". Well needless to say tears filled my eyes.  Brandon understood what we had taught him the night before and he recognized that principle in Travis.

The scriptures and our diligence to study them as a family have blessed us so much.  There is a bond that has been strengthened each time as we gather together in our living room and open up our own scriptures to read and discuss and ponder them together.  We start off with a Primary song - hopefully a child will choose a reverent one; one that settles us down and invites Heavenly Father's Spirit in.  Then we all turn to Alma.  We've been in Alma for almost 1 1/2 years.  But it should only be four or five more days till we're done.  We are at Chapter 63 of Alma now.

Each child, even Noelle, gets to read.  Jared or I will read a few words and the little ones will repeat the words back to us.  Then we thoroughly discuss what we have read so we understand what is happening.  We apply it to our lives and give personal experiences that go along with what has been learned.  It's great!  What amazes me is how much the boys love it.  It's fun to them. They like gathering around and learning   I can see now how Daniel is starting to add his comments and be more attentive.  Travis and Noelle are still out of it , but they'll learn before long.

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