My Secret to Success!

This is one of my favorite success stories. Three years ago I received the following Facebook message from Briona Johnson, the young lady in this picture:

Hi Ms. Jackie, I doubt you remember me, but I will never forget you. You were my abstinence speaker when I was in 8th grade at Awtrey Middle School. You inspired me! I decided then that I would wait. Five years later, as a college freshman, I am still abstaining! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

You could probably guess that reading this message made my day (more like my YEAR); and it couldn't have come at a better time. Earlier that day, I had a very frustrating conversation with a man who insisted that it wasn't realistic to expect teens to abstain from sex in today's culture. So it was very encouraging to get this message just a few hours later from Briona, providing proof that it is indeed possible for teenagers to abstain from sex.

As a matter of fact, my biggest doubters are not teens. They are adults (more about that in another post).

The above picture was taken when Briona and I reconnected two years ago over lunch. Doesn’t she exude JOY? She is now a senior in college and has been traveling with me for the past year speaking about the power of abstinence.

Hear what Briona has to say:



Do you see why I have a hard time believing/accepting that my message is not REALISTIC for young people? I have too many success stories that say otherwise.

How do I have so many success stories? Because I RAISED the BAR and young people are rising to meet the challenge! I EXPECTED more, so I’m GETTING more!

It is the nature of man to RISE to greatness when GREATNESS is expected of him.
~John Steinbeck

I DARE you to raise your expectations and begin expecting GREATNESS from the youth in your life!!! You’ll be surprised at what you’ll see!

Do you have any stories about young people rising to meet your expectations when others thought your expectations were too high for them?


  1. I loved the video. I'm sure Briona is a delightful young woman, and I know you're blessed by her as much as she is by you.

  2. La Monica Smith says:

    So glad our teens have at least one adult raising the bar for them!

    • Yes, LaMonica, and I will never apologize for my high expectations of them. It makes them feel good to know that someone believes that they have the discipline and self-control to make good decisions.

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