I moved down the hall, checking the kids’ rooms as I went and sighing a little after a long day. Picking up random toys that got missed, turning off the bathroom light, getting ready to head to bed. That’s when I saw it. I smiled at the soft light coming from my oldest son’s room and quietly opened to door so as to not wake his brother.
“Buddy, lights out was two hours ago. Put the book away.”
“Ok, mom,” he said, as he shuffled his blankets and the army of stuffed animals. I’m glad he doesn’t know most boys his age don’t collect them like that anymore. “But mom, it’s so cool! I was reading about Sampson! He’s like a bad guy and a good guy at the same time.” He had been reading one of his favorite books about good guys and bad guys in the Bible. “I read about David too!”
“Who’s your favorite good guy?” I asked.
“It’s Jesus. He does all the cool stuff and He’s the only one who isn’t a bad guy at all.”
My boys are like all boys: they know that there is a battle going on and they want to be on the side of the good and the honorable. They might focus on it with superheroes, Bible characters, real life stories, or some other way, but they all find the stories of good vs. bad and they lock in on them.
Boys know the language of honor and courage. They know justice and bravery. Really, if we want to reach the hearts of our boys to teach and train them to be men who are strong and godly, what better way than to teach them through stories of valor!?
The knights of history are a perfect way to do that. Our boys LOVE battles, swords, and the noble character that comes with pretending to be a knight. Why not speak to their little brave hearts in the language of knights and dragons, kings and mighty foes?
That’s exactly what we’re doing in our home, with the help of a book that I’m really excited about Heather Haupt’s new book, Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys.
Capture Their Hearts
We want to raise our boys to be godly young men of honor! Sometimes we are less intentional in that than we’d like to be. And sometimes, it seems like our instruction in these areas goes in one ear out the other. We need to capture their hearts!
My boys know from watching their dad that boys walk on the outside on the sidewalk. They know to open the doors for others. They jump at the chance to use their “awesome muscles” to help me carry in groceries or pick up something heavy. Their hearts already speak the language of chivalry and honor. Knights in Training is a book for parents that helps us use these stories and principles to teach godly character.
Knights in Training
Knights in Training is just the kind of parenting book I love: It gives you good principles and ideas but doesn’t leave you hanging there. Instead, Heather provides actual steps to take and a plan to take them. We are given the wording of example conversations with our kids. This is actual training we do with our boys – physical, emotional, and spiritual – and the book is full of practical tips to help us accomplish it in real life.
So out come the swords and shields! I love the language that this book gives families to use as we shape and mould our boys. It adds immense value to the family’s culture and provides tools that will last their entire childhood. Here’s what I mean:
Physical Training: There is actual physical training involved here and of course boys just love it. You’ll teach them how to fight with honor and integrity. There are jousting challenges, demonstrations of skill and might, and physical labor at boys very much need.
Heroes and Stories: Just like we can learn much from the everyday “heroes” of the Bible, our boys can learn a lot from chivalrous knights! Through great stories found in the recommended book list (we bought several, but you can get them at the library) and conversation as you instruct and train your boys, they will see a picture of respect, courage, and kindness they need as they grow into knights.
Code of Chivalry: Much of the book is spent going through each of the points of the Knight’s Code of Chivalry. That is where the meat of the training lies! You’ll go through each code and learn a little about why it is important, how to teach it, and then a series of highly useful and practical tips and resources for implementing it in your home. (Have I mentioned yet how much I love really practical parenting books? Love.) There is a even progress chart you can download for younger kids!
What About Our Girls?
We have four boys and two girls. As you can imagine, the girls wanted in on the fun too! We decided to just let them participate and learn all the same things. Truly, all the points of the code apply just as equally to girls.
Of course, there are real differences between boys and girls, but you can’t go wrong teaching BOTH of them the code. Even with #5, “respect the honor of women,” it’s easy to point out how this applies to respecting men as well, and in fact, as the Bible states, “Show proper respect to everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17)
So we let them join in! We talk about “Ladies Training” and how the activities we’ve all been doing to learn kitchen skills, study godly character, and so on, all are a part of our “Knight’s Training” and “Ladies Training.”
Raising Godly Knights (and Ladies)
Teach your boys chivalry and one day they’ll slay dragons. With the help of the Lord, they can fight off the enemies of laziness, selfishness, and pridefulness. They’ll stand up for what is true and right!
One thing we added to our work with the Knight’s Code is a scripture to memorize with each one. Here is the code used in the book along with the scriptures we chose for our journey (ESV unless otherwise specified):
- Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
- Obey those in authority over you. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1
- Stand against injustice and evil. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
- Defend the weak and protect them. “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” Psalm 82:3
- Respect the Honor of Women. “Show proper respect to everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
- Refrain from wanton giving of offense. “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Proverbs 20:3
- Speak the truth at all times. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22
- Be generous and willing to share. “…God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
- Preserve and finish the task at hand. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
- Pursue excellence in all you do. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23
Get Knights in Training
I highly, highly recommend Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys. There are an abundance of parenting books out there but this one is now on my short list for several reasons.
- It is biblical, solid information. (On the other hand, although there’s a chapter on God, it is completely usable for non-Christian families, which means I can recommend if to anybody.)
- It will help you on a practical, daily level with your parenting.
- It is rich with information and very much worth your time reading (no fluff).
- It is very countercultural because it returns us back, not to a time period (nobody really wants to go back to medieval times) but a standard of conduct and godly, honorable men that is fast slipping away in our society.
This is a win! I’m joining the #ChivalryMovement. Are you?