The Measure of Manhood

Mr. Charles Johnson and son, Terrell.

In February of 2012, I was speaking for a youth organization and the young ladies in the audience began lamenting about how it would be impossible to find a young man who would be willing to wait for sex even if they had decided to wait.  

To their surprise, a very handsome 27-year-old volunteer stood up and quickly informed them that there were guys out there that were waiting and he was one of them. This young man was Terrell Johnson.

Terrell attributed his decision to abstain from sex until he is married to the message his father gave him when he was young, a message that has continued throughout his adult years. The more I talked to Terrell about his decision, the more I realized that I had to meet his father, Mr. Charles Johnson.

So, I sat down with Mr. Johnson recently to hear his thoughts and approach on rearing his children.  We had a great and extensive conversation, so extensive that it will take two posts to share it all.

In today’s post I simply want to share how Mr. Johnson was able to successfully raise a son who, even as an adult male, is very committed to wait until marriage to have sex.

Think about your future wife even before you meet her!

Mr. Johnson always told Terrell that his biggest regret when he got married was that his wife was a virgin and he was not. He said if he had it to do over, he would have been a virgin on his wedding night. He always wished that he could have given his wife the gift of his purity as she had given him the gift of hers. 

‘I told Terrell the greatest gift he can give to his spouse is his purity.  I really stressed to him that when you give that to a woman, it makes her feel extra special because she knows you’ve been waiting for her.  I also told him that he needed to think about what he wanted for his future marriage and I let him know having children out of wedlock would likely cause problems in his future marriage.”

Sex ≠ Manhood!

Another thing Mr. Johnson taught Terrell at a very young age was that manhood is about being able to take care of your responsibilities and not about having sex.

If you read my June 10, 2013 blog post entitled “When Boys Think Sex = Manhood” you will see that Mr. Johnson’s message to Terrell is different from the message many boys today are getting from their fathers or other adult males. 

Imagine how different things would be in our society if more fathers would define manhood for their sons the way Mr. Johnson defined it for his.

Pride works better than fear!

Mr. Johnson did not make the decision to wait seem like it would be an easy one. He let Terrell know that making that decision would be going against the grain in our society, but it was something he should be proud of doing. Because his father’s message was one of pride instead of fear, it was the perfect motivation for Terrell to abstain.

“John Wooden said, ‘Pride is a better motivator than fear.’ When you do something because of pride, you’re invested in it completely. But when your decision is based on fear, you refrain from doing it only until you’re not afraid anymore. My father always taught me that this decision is something you should have pride in, which made me more mature in dealing with the opposite sex.”

I absolutely love the pride vs. fear approach to parenting. Terrell’s story is confirmation of my approach in the classroom, which is to teach toward something instead of away from something.

The next time you are trying to influence your teens’ decision-making, you may want to consider talking to them about what they will gain from refraining from the behavior instead of what they may lose by participating in the behavior.

Again, these are just a few of the ways Mr. Johnson was able to raise a son who takes pride in a decision that is not popular in today’s hyper-sexualized culture. Thanks to his father, Terrell knows that manhood has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with character.

No, there is no  “Father of the Year” award, monetary gift nor trophy that I have to give Mr. Johnson.  I just wanted to celebrate and thank Mr. Charles Johnson and all other fathers who are proactive and deliberate about teaching their sons the true definition of manhood. 

Fathers like Mr. Johnson are changing a generation…for the better.

In a future post, I will share more from my interview with Mr. Johnson. Make sure you check back to read more excellent tips from a great father!

Also, Terrell was recently interviewed on A Priceless Perspective radio show. You can hear him share his story firsthand here. He also shares some great tips for parents.

Please leave a comment below for Mr. Johnson or Terrell if you are encouraged by their story. Also, please share your approach so we can all learn from each other.

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  • Michael Calloway

    Great post! 

  • Samanda Marshall

    Awesome message family! 🙂

  • Denise Logan

    So proud of my Uncle & Cousin!!! Young men today neef more mentors like you!

  • Andrea Heath

    As a counselor, I practice staying informed of parenting strategies, etc. to share with the families that I work with; I was so impressed with the pride vs. fear approach. This is a great article; I commend Mr. Terrell for a job well done as both a father and mentor for our youth.

    • Andrea Heath

      CORRECTION: I commend Mr. Johnson for a job well done as a father….

      • Jackie Brewton

        Thank you Andrea for stopping by my blog and leaviing a comment. I also LOVED the pride vs. fear approach. Glad you were able to find a new strategy to share with parents. Thank you for all you do!

  • Yannik McKie

    I applaud both this young man and his father! They are REAL men. You have to be strong and confident in who you are to admit that you have made mistakes and teach your son to be better than you were and for Terrel to stand firm in what he knows is right is impressive and with that type of mindset I know he willbe very succesful in everything that he does! Great story.

    • Jackie Brewton

      Thank you Yannik for leaving such wonderful words of affirmation and encouragement for Mr. Johnson and Terrell. I agree, they are what REAL men look like. Be blessed!

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  • charles johnson

    I Thank you all for the great encouragement to my son TERRELL ,
    As for the great father I dont see my self as a great father but a father who loves his sons and want to protect there lives and hearts. The interview with Ms Jackie made me remember something’s
    I told my sons years ago.As a father I knew

    • charles johnson

      My sons would someday be men and someone husband and I wanted my sons to be men of there word ,men who would respect themselves and others,also i didnt want them to make the same mistake in life i made & someday as the cycle of life goes on they will be fathers also speaking into the lives of there sons and knowing and remembering how it was not long ago when there father was speaking and instilling values into them

      • Jackie Brewton

        It has been my pleasure to invest in your son's life. He has been a blessing to me. Thank you again for the opportunity to tell your story and show those who read my blog that there are still some fathers out there who are doing a WONDERFUL job! May God's BEST always be your experience!

        • charles johnson

          Thank you for being a positive influence in my son life ,because it does take a village to raise a child thank you for encouraging him to tell his story

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