Whoever said chivalry is dead is just not looking in the right places…
While online the other day a girlfriend posted a picture of a sweatshirt that looked just like a knight’s armor. This included the helmet (hood) and face mask attachments. Immediately I went on the hunt for this glorious sweatshirt, I mean how could I not! When my research was done I had found that this particular sweatshirt, a product of iamknight on Etsy, was in fact hand-made to order for the exorbitant price of $218.00 (USD)! Um, okay… WOW, is all I could say. You see I am the mother of two equally deserving children. I cannot afford to purchase one let alone two of these sweatshirts (even if I wanted too… and trust me I really want to!) I continued to look and found others equally as cool as the first, and their prices ranged from The Official Knight Hoodie (on Ebay) for $99.95 USD to the SOFworks version on Etsy for $150.00 USD! Who has that kind of money to blow on a sweatshirt? Obviously, families are not the market they are targeting, but they should! Being overpriced and completely out of my reach doesn’t make me want them any less! After all a mom can dream!
So as I sat there staring at my computer screen I started to think. There are many children boys and girls that dream of knighthood. They dream of riding on a noble steed into the battle of good vs. evil, and the splendor that comes with the win. With legends and tales such as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Joan of Arc it is easy to see why! They absorb themselves in the stories and are instantly whisked to a land far away where Kings and Queens rule. To be a knight was one of the noblest positions that a person could hold. Knights were highly esteemed by the people they protected, revered for their chivalry and bravery. Then I started to think… So what is chivalry? Is it even practiced anymore?
Believe it or not my boys love knights! They quickly become engrossed in their folklore and have a tendency to not only recite stories but act them out. We encourage our sons to act in this manner, and no, I am not talking about the violence, or teaching them about war tactics (although those things do come with the territory.) No, we are raising our boys with similar virtues and values as the knights of old held. Chivalry as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is: the system of values (such as loyalty and honor) that knights in the Middle Ages were expected to follow: an honorable and polite way of behaving especially toward women. So chivalry in a sense is a set of moral values which one follows. Moral values such as(but not limited to): honesty, integrity, courtesy, valor, fairness, loyalty, piety, and purity.
We are teaching our sons to act in a chivalrous manor. Actions speak louder than words and so when I say that we are “teaching” them, I mean that my husband and I try to model this behavior so that our words exemplify our actions. We encourage them to be kind, and respectful towards other people and each other, to operate honestly, and with integrity. Manners are an essential part of this process. We want our children to be known as boys (and one day men) whose word you can value and trust. Honesty can be difficult, especially when it is human nature to lie. Our boys are still learning that it is better to tell the truth than face the consequences of their lie. They understand that there are consequences for their actions whether they are negative or positive depends on them. It is tough to have to be accountable to yourself and other people, but in the long run they will come out better for it.
Since they were toddlers my husband and I have worked to ensure that our children operate courteously with proper social etiquette. Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, and May I, were instilled and are suitably used. Some things like “yes Ma’am and Yes Sir” and calling adults Mr. and Ms. have at times earned my husband and I ridicule for being overly strict. But please hear me out, we are not doing our children or this current generation any favors by treating them as peers. Boundaries must be established in order for these children to succeed and flourish. They will learn either from you or someone else (the hard way) that calling people (especially their bosses) by their first name is NOT acceptable in the workplace. Such informalities are only for people with whom they know. Proper manners will in fact get children further in life, than lack of manners will.
My children understand as it has been demonstrated to them by their father, that it is courteous and respectful to open doors for people. They understand that it is kind to wait to sit down until your guest has been seated. This particular skill is one that we are still working on but the foundation has been laid and they strive to successfully complete it. When they were small, my boys used to fight over who would open and close my door when we got in the car. I remember feeling so honored and blessed. I hope that one day their wives will feel as valued and esteemed as I did and do when they do this.
We have instilled in them valor (courage and bravery), as well as the desire to defend/protect those who cannot and/or will not defend/protect themselves. Sometimes they struggle when it comes to speaking up for others, as they are still at the ages of finding their voice in this world. Nonetheless, through our heart-felt talks and discussions I know that the concept of valor is deeply rooted. Fairness is yet another area we continue to work on with them. We want our children to be fair, merciful and unbiased. We expect that they will not hold any person to a standard they are not willing to be held too. This is really difficult when they are small, but as they continue to grow and mature this is a concept that will truly come in to play. Raising chivalrous boys is no easy task, and involves brutal honesty with them and with myself. As a parent committed to raising up chivalrous sons, I know and understand that I cannot hold my boys to a standard I refuse to be held too. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is so worth it! With this in mind we continue to bolster them to be loyal and true to each other, as well as their family and friends. We are creating in our sons a brotherhood of sorts… a team in which there are very few players.
My oldest is just getting to the age where purity in (mind, body and spirit) becomes a challenge. One thing that we have talked about with our sons extensively and will continue to talk about is the pressure that society puts on young men and young women alike. There is a social pressure to conform to what society says is normal and grow up way before their time. Purity is a difficult task for the most disciplined adult so for young men and women it’s extremely challenging! There are many schools of thought on this topic alone and I will save them for another time. When it comes to purity and respecting one’s body, mind, and spirit we are vigilant to protect our children.
As my husband and I demonstrate love to our children we expect them to follow suit. Our faith plays a large part in the ways that we demonstrate our love to each other. Using as an example Christ’s love for us, just as it says in Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG). When children feel loved and valued they exude love. The chivalrous behavior that has been rooted in their hearts will shine through. As a family we believe in the fruits of the spirit and seek to honor God by living out these spiritual fruits. In case you are not familiar with the passage in the Bible Galatians 5:22-23 the fruits of the spirit are: Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Constantly being watched by our children, this is what we as parents strive to emulate.
Teach your children well; help them to understand what is expected of them by modeling this behavior yourself. In our society today these manners are becoming increasingly rare. If you train your child up in the way of proper etiquette, not only will they be better human beings but they will stand out amongst the rest. We are in a sense raising-up modern day knights who will fight for truth, love, and what is right.