[Shellie here: This is a young man in his early 20s that I have known since he was a “single digit age”. His mom has actually guest blogged for us before about her struggles sex, sexual purpose and porn. I asked him to share with me what will prevent him for being the kind of man that his both has so often settled for. This was his answer. Good for you, Donovan. Well done. On another note, let this remind us *all* of the power of mentorship…one young person at a time.]

In order to be a better man than men have been to my mother, I had to go back and redefine my definition of a ‘man’.

I couldn’t build my manhood on what I was brought up on, just like you wouldn’t build your house on a faulty foundation. I grew up watching movies like Boyz in the Hood, The Mack, Paid In Full, etc. and TV shows like Good Times. What I saw was that the people that were doing well (taking care of their children, going to work, being loyal to their women) were the ones that ended up messed up in the end.

Take Good Times, for example. James Evans worked hard, came home EVERY night to Florida, provided for his family and…he ended up dying. Then you have Sweet Daddy Williams who had means to handle any situation he faced; he had money at all times, and he never had any worries in the world. On Paid In Full, you had Ace who started at the bottom and rose to the top in no time. It was all about quick success at a young age. I didn’t look at the fact Ace lost friends and family in the movie. All I saw was the money and the women. I saw that if you do well then you are destined to fail.

With that being said, my definition of a man was the guy who had all the women, had money in his pocket by any means necessary, he was measured by his sex drive, and could do what he wanted when he wanted. My definition of a punk was the man that provided for his family, remained faithful to one woman, and was measured by his character. I lived with a mother who was a single parent in the church and all I saw on a constant basis was different men in and out of the house. With that being the standard that was set in my household, that’s how I thought it was supposed to be. I saw nothing wrong with that.

It wasn’t until I got in middle school and went to best friend, Gabriel’s house and spent the night that I realized something in my household was wrong. I saw the way that his dad, Elder Barry treated his mama and at first I thought it was a joke. I figured it couldn’t be serious. This man has got to be either creeping or on the down low. Then a couple weeks after I spent the night, we had a Father-Son conference at my church and Elder Barry wanted me to come with him as his “son”. That off top took me by surprise; the fact that he was willing to take on an extra person that he legally had no responsibility for. He did it because he wanted to.

At the conference, there came a section where we all had to split up and the fathers had to connect with the sons and just talk to them. When Elder Barry, Gabriel, and I got to that point, Elder Barry told us his story and that is what changed my definition of a man and caused me to want to be what I before deemed a punk. He told us that when he was in college, he was a hooper (basketball player) and he had women on top of women, he had money on top of money, and mad respect. He was having sex on a constant basis and he even had a son out of wedlock.

In my eyes, seeing that he could go from the type of person that was in the movies I was watching and living by to a man of God and still be as respected and laidback as he is what opened my eyes to the reality that [GODLY] MEN are not these punk, no sex getting, lame people that I thought they were. So, I can say that what caused me to want to be a better man than men have been to my mother was seeing the true definition of a man through the actions of Elder Barry Towles.