“And so,” Sister Adams said, “as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7 [Matt. 7:7], ‘Ask, and it shall be given you.’ When we ask in faith, and do our part, Heavenly Father will always answer us. He wants us to be happy.”
So, Brandon thought, if Heavenly Father wants me to be happy, then He must want me to get away from what makes me unhappy. Yeah! And what makes me unhappy is Bobby!
Brandon rolled his eyes, remembering Bobby’s “Please, let me come with you, Brandon.” … “I didn’t mean to break it, Brandon.” … “Can I ride your bike?” … “Can I sit by you?”
That night Brandon prayed eagerly, “Heavenly Father, please make Bobby leave me alone. He’s always pestering me and making me really unhappy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Brandon hopped into bed with a smile on his face.
On Monday, Bobby insisted on walking to school with Brandon. He kept interrupting Brandon and Peter while they were talking about important stuff. He squeezed in beside Brandon at lunch and dripped milk on Brandon’s new pants. After school, he cried so hard that Mom made Brandon take him along to nail down the floor of the tree fort. On the way there, he spilled all the nails.
This isn’t working! Brandon’s thoughts raged. He grabbed Bobby’s hand and stomped back home.
Brandon flopped into bed after a complaining prayer that night. Then he thought, What did Sister Adams say exactly? Oh, yes—we have to do ourpart too. Of course! That’s what’s wrong. I’ve been expecting Heavenly Father to do it all for me.
“Run, Peter,” whispered Brandon the next morning. “Go to school by yourself, Bobby,” he yelled over his shoulder as the two older boys raced away.
At lunchtime, when Bobby approached their table, the two friends locked elbows and spread out their legs. “He’s turning around, Brandon,” Peter said, holding up his hand for a high-five. Brandon looked. All he could see of Bobby was hunched shoulders as he trudged away.
“No, you can’t carry the hammer, and no, you can’t come!” Brandon hissed at Bobby after school. “You’re nothing but a pest, and nobody wants you along anywhere—especially at the tree fort.”
Bobby’s face began to crumple. Brandon grabbed Bobby’s shirt front. “And if you start to bawl, I’ll never let you do anything with me again.”
Tears coursed down Bobby’s cheeks, but he didn’t make a sound.
Brandon marched off, clutching his hammer so tightly that his fingers ached. Nailing down the floorboards was hard work, but it went fast without his brother’s pestering. He stopped only when the sun was almost down.
Walking home, he was glad that he’d finished so much and glad that his prayers were being answered. But when he went inside, there was Bobby, sitting as still as a statue outside Brandon’s room. Brandon scowled and slammed his door shut, all his good feelings vanishing. His mind saw only Bobby’s sad face.
He’s just making it worse and worse, Brandon ranted to himself. He breaks my stuff. He ruins my games. And now he’s ruined my enjoying the tree fort too. Well, he’d better leave me alone—or else!
On Saturday afternoon, he came home from soccer practice to find Bobby wobbling down the street on his new bike. Brandon grabbed the handlebars and yanked the bike around hard. Bobby flew off. The next instant he was screaming. His hands were skinned, and a bump was growing on his forehead.
Brandon pushed his fear away with more anger. “Don’t you ever touch my bike again! Don’t ever touch anything of mine, for as long as you live!”
Brandon felt himself marched into the house. Up the stairs he went and into his room. “Hurting someone else is not the way to take care of disagreements, Brandon,” Dad said. “You know that. You will stay in your room until you can make things right with Bobby.”
Glaring at Dad as he closed the door behind him, Brandon stomped to the window. Mom was helping Bobby into the house and holding a cloth to his forehead.
Brandon refused to come down for dinner. He wasn’t about to “make things right.” It wasn’t fair to be punished when Bobby had taken his bike without permission.
On Sunday, Brandon came out only to go to church. Sister Adams taught the class how to use the Topical Guide in their Bibles to find scriptures to answer their questions and help them learn how to solve problems. She explained that the Holy Ghost could help them know which scriptures to read.
Back home, Brandon ate his meals in his room, still fuming. I’ll never make up with that little pest!
Monday was Bobby’s birthday. After school, Brandon stood at his bedroom window, watching Bobby and his friends yelling and jumping around in the backyard.
“Oh, wow! My favorite!” Bobby yelled as he tore open a package. “A praying mantis transformer robot!”
Brandon clenched his fists. He’d been wanting one of those for months.
“Oh, wow! A dragonfly robot!” Bobby waved a robot in each hand.
Brandon slumped on his bed.
After the guests had gone home, Bobby pounded up the stairs and into Brandon’s room. “Brandon!” He stopped at his brother’s scowl. “I—I just wanted to show you my transformers. …”
“Well, I don’t want to see them. So just get out of here.”
Bobby turned and shut the door softly behind him. Tears squeezed out onto Brandon’s cheeks. Since he’d decided to pray for what he wanted, everything had gone wrong! He didn’t understand it at all.
He must have dropped off to sleep, because it was dark when he woke up, way past dinnertime. His stomach growled as he opened his door to listen. They’re having family home evening without me, he thought. They don’t care about me at all.
Then he saw it—the praying mantis transformer robot. It had been placed on the tray of food by the door.
He sat in his doorway and picked it up. Did Bobby really give this to me? Shame flooded through him. Why would he do that, after how mean I’ve been to him? And what do I do now?
Sister Adams had said to look in the Topical Guide. She’d said that the answers to our problems are all in the scriptures.
He knelt by his bed, wanting help more than he’d ever wanted it before. “Heavenly Father, I feel awful! Please help me to feel the Holy Ghost prompting me, so I can know what scriptures to read that will help me. I really want to understand what to do about Bobby. Everything I’ve done so far has turned out wrong.”
Opening his Bible to the back pages, Brandon searched in the Topical Guide until he found the word Ask. That was what he needed to know: how to ask Heavenly Father for blessings so he could really get them. He began reading the phrases listed there. When he came to “Mosiah … 4:21 whatsoever ye a. [ask] that is right,” he was sure that this was his answer. He almost tore a page in his Book of Mormon in his haste to find the scripture:
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
Understanding flooded Brandon. It was right to ask Heavenly Father to help him be happy. What was wrong was trying to have happiness by making Bobby unhappy. Bobby couldn’t just disappear. He was part of Brandon’s family! So what was right was for them to be happy together. And that meant doing what the scripture in Mosiah said: imparting—sharing. Sharing things. Sharing time. Sharing fun.
And Bobby showed me how. Brandon picked up the transformer, which was even more precious now. Then his eyes scanned his room. When they came to his shell collection, he picked it up and went downstairs. “May I talk to Bobby?”
Brandon beckoned Bobby into the kitchen. “I found the transformer, Bobby. Thanks! That’s the best present I ever got.”
Bobby’s grin could have lit a rocket.
“And this is for you,” Brandon told him, handing him the box.
“Your shell collection? But, Brandon, it’s your most special thing!”
“No, it isn’t—my brother is.”
The warm feelings flooding Brandon were unmistakable. This time, he had asked for what was right and had done his part right. He could feel himself receiving happiness through his body. Bobby wasn’t a pest—he was a pretty neat kid. “Thank you, Heavenly Father,” he prayed silently.
With their arms around each other, the brothers trooped into the living room.