March 23, 2011

Compassion Lessons Scott Johnson

Scott is a really kind hearted man.  Almost everyone who meets him loves him.  Some of his kindness comes from his mother Winnie.  But the rest may come from something that happened to him when he was a boy.  He wrote about it to his sister Kathy:
We moved from Logan to Providence in the summer between my 6th and 7th grade years in school.  The move meant that we started school in a completely new school district.  I didn’t have any friends and I was just starting Jr. High.  I caught the bus near our house in Providence.  We would ride the bus to Providence Elementary and then change buses to ride out to Hyrum to South Cache Jr. High School.  The bus going to Hyrum was segregated by grades.  The 7th graders sat in the very front, the 8th graders sat in the middle section and the 9th graders sat in the back.  There were no assigned seats; that’s just the way things sorted out. 
Since I didn’t have any friends yet, no one saved me a seat with the other 7th graders on the bus.  There was no place for me to sit.  The bus driver made me go to the back of the bus to sit with the 9th graders.  They didn’t want a 7th grader back with them.  They would let me sit down when the bus driver was looking, but when we started on our way to Hyrum, the boys would kick me off of the seat and make me sit on the floor all the way to Hyrum. 
I felt so all alone and humiliated.  I hated the idea of having to ride like that every morning to school.  I would cry at night and tell mom and dad that I didn’t want to go to school.  Looking back, it was one of the hardest and most traumatic experiences of my life.  The situation lasted for some time.  It is interesting to me how mom and dad handled it.  I am sure that it was a trial for them too.  They listened when I told them about my predicament and encouraged me, but they did not take the trial away. 
Like all difficult experiences, I learned important lessons.  I keenly understand what it is like to feel alone in a sea of people.  I know what it is like to feel that you are not wanted by the kids your age.  I hope that this knowledge makes me a more kind and caring child of God.
I can tell you that Scott is a better person because if this experience.  He went on to make many friends in his new school.  Later, he had enough friends that he was elected to offices in High School.  He learned how to make friends and be a good friend.  He practiced on the kids he knew in school.  Now he’s really good at making friends and helping people feel important.  He remembers everyone’s name, he is genuinely interested in their lives and he never lets an opportunity pass to let them know he cares about them.
Recently, he visited another ward and a young man named Luke gave a talk.  Scott thought it was a great talk.  Later, he wrote a little note to Luke and mailed it to him.  When the young man’s mom saw the note, she was amazed that Uncle Scott would take the time to do that.  She wrote me an email, saying:
Hi Melanie,
Would you please give your husband a message for me?  Today I went downstairs and in my husband's piles I found a little letter from your hubby.  It was addressed to Luke, he read it and I want Pres. Johnson to know how much it meant to him. I explained to Luke what I imagined a day in Pres. Johnson's life would be and then added that he made time to write a note to a little boy who wrote a 2 minute talk!!!  Please pass this along "Thank you very much for taking the time to write my son Luke a note!"  That meant so much to me!! and Luke!!!
With Sincere Thanks
Sometimes learning from the worst experiences in our lives make us better people.  Even when we can’t see any good coming from it at the time.  We need to learn from it and make an effort to use what we’ve learned.

March 15, 2011

John Rescues His Brother Tom by Adopting Him

Today I want to tell you the story of the Jones family from the 1940’s near Salt Lake City in an inactive Mormon home.  John Jones was 16 and his younger brother Tom was 11 when their mom died.  That was really hard for the boys to be without their mother.  What made it harder was that their dad was an alcoholic.  He drank alcohol often, and he was a mean man.  When their mother was alive, she would keep their dad away from the boys when he was drunk.  Now that she was gone, John was concerned about Tom.
John had a girlfriend named Susie the same age as he was – 16 years old.  Susie also had a bad home life.  John and Susie talked over John’s worries about Tom.  They made a decision that changed their lives and Tom’s lives forever. 

They got married and rescued Tom!
Susie said, “It was crazy.  I was just a few years older than Tom and now I was his mother.  I didn’t know how to be a mother.  I was just a kid myself.  But we wanted to help Tom.  So we became a family.  I told Tom to be home for dinner and to get himself to school.  I didn’t know any better than that.  I had no other rules.  Tom was a good boy and stayed out of trouble.  We got along fine and everything turned out well.”
Susie and John became active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had several children of their own.  They raised their children in an active LDS home.  All of their sons served missions and all of their children married in the temple.
Neither John or Susie were able to graduate from high school; they dropped out in the 10th grade to take care of their new family.  But they strongly encouraged their children to get an education.  Among their grown children, there is a doctor, a lawyer, and an MBA executive.
John and Susie Jones did hard, courageous things to help Tom and their other children grow up to be good people.  They embraced the gospel, passing on to them the very things that give us all happiness now and in the eternities.  And they were all sealed in the temple, so that this family that John and Susie worked so hard to build would last forever.

(This true story was told by Spencer Shumway Dacula Georgia February 26, 2011.  Names were changed.  Photo is from MS Clipart)