A Tribute to a sweet 5 year old boy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It is no secret that there are people who come into our life and leave you never the same.

As I taught a primary class of the 4 and 5 years for 5 different groups of children. There are a handful who have taught me gospel lessons that I will never forget. This little boy was one of them. To have taught him, I am truly grateful to have felt of his sweet and wiggly spirit. I wish I could have just one more day with this boy when he was five. Oh, the hugs and words I would say to him.

Here is the lesson I learned from him that I hope to never forget. His birthday is January 28th. I had decide to sew a scripture bag with pocket for each of my kids and he was the first birthday of my class. He was a wiggly boy and it was often hard to tell if he was listening or even interested in what I was teaching.

So I made this bag and placed a BOM in it to give him. However, I was afraid he would think the gift was dumb so I also brought him a small bag of candy too. I gave both to him and he just held the scripture bag and had the hugest smile I had ever seen from him. The candy meant nothing to him, but the scriptures and the bag did. All through class he just sat there with a big grin and looked at his new scripture and bag.

Let's just say he was the only child to get candy this year. He taught me the gospel is the greatest gift to anyone, even at such a young age. He taught me there are no substitutions for the sweetness of the true gospel. He taught me to love him even while wiggly. I cherish his smile. He was truly a sweet boy.

About three years ago, I saw this young man have a brief desire to turn somethings around in his life. It was at this time that I felt the impression to tell him the story of his beautiful smile and how it touch my life. In middle school his childhood smile seemed to not be as prevalent and I missed it. Sadly, I never took advantage of that opportunity to tell him. After all, teenagers don't remember their primary teachers they had at five, especially when they don't want anything to do with the church. I said nothing, and soon my opportunity went away. I will always regret not speaking up. For not taking to risk of sounding dumb.  I don't think it would have change us from having a funeral, but I think he deserved to know that he had made a difference in my life.

On Nov 25, 2011, he passed away.  I don't know why he felt he needed to go, but I do know there will be those who will miss him dearly.  At his funeral there were around 300 present.  His high school brought over 2 school buses of students who wanted to be at his funeral.  Many spoke of his greatness and endless potential.  Teachers spoke about how he could ace a test without ever taking notes.  He was so bright that notes were never needed.  I heard how he scored so high on his SAT test that he was receiving 2-3 college application letters a day.  His mother told me that his score was among the top in the nation.  If only he could have held on  for just another year or two, perhaps there might have been brighter days for him. However,  he is safe now and without the trials that plagued him here.  Though his body is dead, his spirit is alive.  Somehow,  it would not surprise me if some of that 5 year old spirit that I knew, is not more prevalent now.   I know he is in good hands now and free of pain.
I can not say I really knew him as the sixteen year old that he was, but I did know and love that boy as a five year old and those memories are very dear to me.

Now that he is gone, he has yet again taught me another gospel truth.  That I need to cherish all those I teach in primary,  for they are important to Heavenly Father and to their families.   No one knows the trial these wiggly small ones will face in the near future.  My testimony and my love is all the more important to share.  No matter how they behave,  we want them to be here at church and we want them to taste of their Savior's love.  Because of Alex,  I want to be a better teacher.   I want to look around me and reach out to the wandering and the lonely.  Today I looked around me at church and prayed to know who the Lord wanted me to reach out.  Today I saw two, but I wondered if there were more and I saw them not.  I wondered if my eyes were blind to the lonely and the sad.

Thank you Alex for your brief blessing in my life.   May you be a blessing now to those in your midst. 

A Tribute to Alexander Benjamin Maxwell 
January 28, 1995 to November 25, 2011

*Permission to post pictures and this tribute was granted by his mother.


Amanda Davis December 7, 2011 at 9:51 PM  

Denise thanks for sharing! I have had many thoughts since he passed to, and have made some changes.