Don’t call us, we’ll call you

February 4, 2011

Lindsay recommends: Brandon Lesch

Filed under: Incarceration research, Personal — Tags: , — llcall @ 6:00 pm

This is one of those post drafts, written last June, that I was referring to in my list of things I wanted to finish this year.  The funny thing is that it actually was finished, but because I originally intended it to be part of a series of posts exploring the concept of generosity, it sat in blog purgatory waiting for those other posts.  Until today.

You can’t check him out from the library.  You can’t watch him on YouTube.  But if you ever get the chance to meet him, I highly recommend you take it!

We met Brandon in the summer of 2008 when we moved to Illinois for my thesis research.  He was the undergrad supervisor of the Jail Study, so we worked closely together for about four months.  As I mentioned before, he recently paid us a visit while road-tripping from California to Chicago.  I would have marked the event with a blog post but, silly me, I forgot to take any pictures.  I think I was just too preoccupied with catching up, showing off Addison’s latest tricks, etc.

Hopefully, he’ll forgive me for stealing a picture from his Facebook profile, but it was just too perfect to pass up.

See, what I want to tell you about Brandon is that he is pretty much the nicest person EVER.  Now my Neal’s a great guy, but he’ll be the first to tell you that compared to Brandon he is a first-class jerk.  Brandon is incredibly kind and thoughtful and humble (which is why he’ll hate this post).  Before Addison was born, he gave us the most generous, thoughtful gift.  It was meant to be anonymous (but through some fluke of online shopping wasn’t) so I won’t give any specifics, except to say that it was the perfect kind of gift: one that you will use all the time, but can’t bring yourself to get (at least if you struggle to buy needful things).

But even more than that, as I’ve been contemplating generosity over the last few months, I’ve turned to Brandon as an example multiple times.  Working in the nonprofit sector for most of my adult life, I’ve encountered A LOT of generous, do-gooder types.  But the older I got the more I noticed quite a frustrating trend.  I know people who work themselves to the bone trying to help prisoners (obviously), or support foster care youth, or save children in Africa.  That is their kind of generosity.  But they can’t (or won’t) cut any slack to the person sitting across the table from them who disagrees with their position on an issue.  They can’t stop judging the actions of their next-door neighbor.  They have no patience for the people who inhabit their immediate world.  That is not their kind of generosity.

I hate to admit that I can often be that type of person.  So I have been awed and amazed to discover this truly remarkable thing about Brandon: he shows consistent kindness to people half a world away (see picture above taken in Africa) and people he interacts with day-in and day-out.  I’m just grateful I’ve been able to witness such generosity of spirit because it is a rarer thing in this world (and in myself) than I would like it to be.



  1. Love all your new posts, including this one. I totally suffer from that problem . . . totally admire people like Brandon!

    Comment by Vickie Blanchard — February 5, 2011 @ 12:00 am

  2. Um… that is totally me too… 😦

    Comment by Rachel — February 5, 2011 @ 2:03 am

  3. Sounds like a prince of a man.

    Comment by Linsey — February 5, 2011 @ 3:47 am

  4. I am glad to know there are truly people like Brandon in this world–the people who help us to know how to be more like Christ.

    Comment by Meg Romney — February 6, 2011 @ 7:31 am

  5. Lindsay Lindsay Lindsay, I’ve had trouble walking through doorways because you’ve made my head so big.

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Love you and miss you.

    Comment by "Brandon" — February 10, 2011 @ 3:03 am

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