I know it might seem odd for me to be reading a book about raising boys when I don’t have any children, but bear with me here.
After I began homeschooling, I became interested in learning about different education philosophies. This started me down a path of learning more about children and raising children in general.
To my understanding children are the foundation of society. Every parent, grandparent, aunt, and uncle wants to create a better future for their successors. Since children are the foundation of society, raising them is all about family dynamic and societal beliefs. So really when I read about different education theories or child rearing philosophies, I’m educating myself about society as a whole.
Knights In Training by Heather Haupt is a masterpiece. It approaches raising boys with the historical example of medieval knights in mind. I believe raising boys with an understanding of what makes a REAL GENTLEMAN is essential in this era of, as my fellow blogger at Remnants of Wit put it, “Fake Gentlemen Culture.”
Every day respect and honor become a little harder to find. It isn’t necessarily because they don’t exist at all, but rather because the meaning of “respect” and “honor” are being misunderstood. In Knights In Training Haupt defines these words well and explains how parents should show their boys how embody these definitions.
Starting off by explaining the way boys are naturally drawn to risk and have a natural pull to adventure, Haupt then goes on to demonstrate how a boy’s love for adventure and risk and strength can be fostered along with respect and honor. She states that, instead of just shutting boys down and overlooking their strength in an attempt to discourage them from abusing it, parents should provide boys with an understanding and a context for their strength. Parents should show boys how to apply themselves for good.
The backbone of Haupt’s philosophy is the knight’s Code of Chivalry which goes as follows:
- Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
- Obey those in authority over you.
- Stand against injustice and evil.
- Defend the weak and protect them.
- Respect the honor of women.
- Refrain from wanton giving of offense.
- Speak the truth at all times.
- Be generous and willing to share.
- Persevere and finish the task at hand.
- Pursue excellence in all you do.
Haupt then goes on to lay out ways in which to foster these traits in boys with what she calls the Chivalry Challenge.
Essentially the Chivalry Challenge captivates a boy’s imagination with stories of great knights, kings, and princes and enjoins him to embody the code these heroes followed. It encourages him to live out these ideals on a day to day basis. Most importantly it stresses that the importance of being Chivalrous is to honor God, develop yourself, and impact the world for the better.
Personally, I find that role models are one of the most important devices for personal development. By stressing the value of giving boys someone to admire and ideals to aspire to, the Chivalry Challenge is able to employ their adventurous, competitive, and hard working spirits for a wonderful purpose. It gives boys a desire to grow up to be gentlemen who embrace responsibility, instead of promoting the popular idea that growing up and responsibility are things to be abhorred.
Knights In Training is an amazing parenting book. But even if you don’t have kids I think it’s important to try and understand how kids think, and this book gives great insight to understanding . Furthermore it is an encouragement to see that respect and honor and courtesy don’t have to be as archaic as they are becoming.