Raising a Modern-Day Knight in a Confused World

Community Personal Development Spirituality What Your Father Should Have Taught You Worldview

RAISING A MODERN-DAY KNIGHT; A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis.

SabersEdge Book Review: My Rating is ***** FIVE STARS – This is a must read!

“This is one of the most important questions of our day because it targets a process missing in many homes. How does a boy grow into a man? A real man? A godly man? One with character conviction, and vision?… Who confers on him the title and responsibilities of manhood?”

This book notes that the image of knighthood is a powerful image of manhood in Western Society and it ties into that concept as an answer to societal confusion and young men who seem to be lacking purpose and direction. The author shares his response, which has worked for him, his sons, and the men in his church and their sons. The question above is the opening of this book opens and it offers a warning to those parents who aren’t paying attention to what is happening in this world:

“You need to know…that your son and thousands like him are presently being stripped of their maleness by a modern, secular, feminist culture. Over the last few decades, this culture has steadily and relentlessly undermined healthy notions of what it means to be a man. Once noble images of masculinity have now been replaced by images of men behaving badly…or incompetently…or both…At the same time, many young men are confused because of their lack of connection with their fathers—socially, emotionally, and spiritually. All this has created an acute masculine identity crisis.”

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As I have noted in SabersEdge.online [ https://sabersedge.online/the-greatest-battle-of-our-time ]this crisis of manhood is a major problem for social stability. In societies (of both humans and many animal species,) where young males do not have a clear and stable masculine example to guide their formation into manhood things go radically wrong. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that our society is going radically wrong but so many seem clueless as to why. Even though repeated studies, articles, and historical examples as well as psychological perception have clearly shown what the difficulties probably stem from. Yet they get no air time on the media. Still, the information is out there, if people bother to look.

According to Raising a Modern Day Knight (and I tend to agree) there are 3 major problems:

1) “First, we have failed to deliver to our sons a clear, inspiring, biblically grounded definition of manhood. How critical is that? It’s comparable to a hunter without a gun…or a soccer game without a ball…or a cross-country trip without a map. Telling a boy to “be a man” without defining manhood is like saying, “Be a success.” It sounds good. But, practically it takes you nowhere.”

2) “Second, most fathers lack a directional process that calls their sons to embrace the manhood they should be able to define. Typically, what passes for masculine training in most homes is vague and hit-or-miss. We assume sons will somehow “get it.” But most don’t This hit or miss pattern sends conflicting signals and suffers under the weight of its own inconsistency. Worse still, it handicaps a son in knowing how to move out of childhood and into manhood. What he really needs is specific language and training…”

3) “A third shortcoming involves the loss of ceremony. How many dads today think of commemorating their son’s progress or passage into manhood? Very few. A pioneer of the secular manhood movement, Robert Bly, makes this penetrating observation: “There is no place in our culture where boys are initiated consciously into manhood.” Manhood ceremonies have, in fact, become a lost art form. And sons have lost these powerful, life-changing moments where, in the presence of Dad and other men, they can mark…their progress toward or passage into manhood. In absence of these special ceremonies, sons are left to wonder: Am I a man?

The author comes to these from his own study and the negative example of his alcoholic father. Much of what he puts in this book is from observation of others but also his self-examination and realization of what he and his brothers desperately needed but didn’t get from his father. Every parent should read this book. Too many today demonstrate a weakness and fragility of character that is tearing this world apart and the comforts of this world were created through cooperation and purpose that is lacking today. The world after the fall, if we let it fall, will be dark and terrible and many will die. Worse, some that survive will have no idea what it means to be a real man or real woman nor will they know the great philosophies developed over the 4000-year history of Western Civilization. The culture that built the very benefits they take for granted. Therefore I think we need to awaken the knights. The Lions of modern society to survive and form the basis of a new future that we all desperately need.

I was pleased that I had done much of that with my own boys but I failed in some regards (more on that later.)

Let me tell you what I did right. From their youngest time, I would play and wrestle with my boys. When they were little they would crawl in bed with me on Saturday morning and often we would wake up wrestling and tickling each other. My boys would crawl up on my lap when we were watching TV or when they needed attention. I regularly told them I loved them. I put them to bed and read to them almost nightly from books that had heroic stories in them. Images from myth and history I wanted them to learn. I have a tolerable singing voice and after reading I would sing them a song, as my sister used to sing to me. Those songs also had a message in them. They were from TV shows and movies and church. Songs like “Colt .45”, “Paladin”, “The Greatest Adventure,” “The Last Farewell,” “I Don’t Believe in If Anymore,” “Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold,” “Lament of the Rohirrim,” “Roger Young,” songs from the Civil War and America History, and the theme from the old black and white Robin Hood series, and many more. But if it was only heroic songs it would have not been good or balanced and yet there were within those songs heroes who defended the weak and oppressed. It included songs of struggle and perseverance, usually ballads, but also Amazing Grace, Hymn of Promise, and poems such as Invictus, and Horatius at the Bridge, Charge of the Light Brigade, and others, and one of my favorites: Winnie the Pooh. Then I prayed with them for our extended family, hugged them, and kissed them on the forehead good night.

But there were duties. I was a soldier and a drill sergeant and I got tired of four kids arguing over who helped last with chores. There was helping Dad cook dinner, taking out the garbage, feeding the dogs and cats, emptying the bucket of kitchen scraps on the compost pile, stiffing the compost, weeding the garden, and picking the ready vegetables. The first time I made the roster my oldest boy said, “This isn’t fair my name’s on there 7 times!” I responded I would re-check it. I did and put up a new roster and called everyone together. “You were right son, that roster wasn’t fair. Everyone else’s name was on there 9 times. I fixed it so that it would be fairer for everyone.”

In addition to this I would take my two older sons to church with me. I had three services every Sunday and they each had to go to one of them, they could choose which one.

One thing that I also did was every time I had an errand to run I took ONE of my kids with me. As we drove I didn’t turn on the radio. We talked. I asked them what they were playing and how they were doing in school. As they got older I would turn on the news. When something played that I could use as a teaching point I shut it off and asked, “What did you think about that?” When my youngest son got to the point where he was telling me “They didn’t give us the facts they told us what to think about it by using judgmental adjectives. I don’t like people telling me what to think about something. I want to make up my own mind.” I knew that they listened to me.

Finally, I sat with my boys and we watched what I called Brakhage movies that were important in our culture. Some of these included, “Zulu,” “Heartbreak Ridge,” “We Were Soldiers,” “Lord of the Rings,” the “Hobbit,” “Wizards,” “Space Above and Beyond,” “Star Trek” (the Original Series not the others), “Love Actually,” “Princess Bride,” “Aliens,” “The Alamo” with John Wayne, “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “The Longest Day,” “A Bridge too Far,” “Robin Hood” with Kevin Kostner (“Because Allah loves wondrous diversity”), “God’s and Generals,” “Gettysburg,” “Captain America,” “Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Spiderman,” “Star Wars I-VI,” Star Trek II, IV, and VI, a whole list of John Wayne movies, “Starship Troopers,” “Battle of the Bulge,” “The Dirty Dozen,” “the Guns of Navarone,” “The Wind and the Lion,” “Joan of Arc,” the list goes on but I think you get the point. I won’t say all of my sons remember all of them, many they saw when they were little, some I held for later but not many. They watched what I watched but I fast-forwarded through anything that had gratuitous or casual sex in it.

There was a method to my madness. They all contained images of manhood, some of the older movies and westerns I watched with my dad when I was growing up…he fought in World War II and he did a good job letting me know I was loved and important. He took walks with me, sat with me, and talked with me.

But where we all FAILED was in point number 3. Ceremonies. Our society has none and I, honestly, didn’t fully realize how important they were until just a few years ago and I have lived for six decades. My problem was that I was always so self-conscious I hated ceremonies. I even skipped my college graduation and had them mail it to me, for which my mom yelled at me.

Yes, I finished my undergraduate degree when I was 33. I had received an army ROTC scholarship and so I had been a Cavalry Scout, Drill Sergeant, and Counterintelligence Special Agent fighting terrorists and the KGB, and my little 5-foot-something Irish mother read me the riot act. My mother and Father provided clear parameters in my life, from church to home, I knew I was loved. I was hugged, and I knew when I screwed up because my Dad would say, “Do I need to take my belt off?” Nope. That question brought immediate compliance. Of course, I don’t know that he ever had to say that after grade school – I may have heard it in Middle School/Junior High.

One thing my Dad always told me was to always do a job so well that if they told everyone you did it you would be proud of your work. Along with that, he trained me to always do “more than expected,” and that “God always sees what you do.” So I learned to work as if God (or my Dad,) was watching.

The definition of a man is presented as having Four Points – (the quotes are mine):

In today’s society, with all its self-destructive messages a man needs a code of conduct to cling to. Robert Lewis has a suggestion here as well and offers it in his book. I won’t summarize it here because I think everyone who has kids or plans to should read this book. Had I read it earlier I would have given it to each of my sons when they got married. As it is they will each get a copy this Christmas.

As I said this book is packed full of ideas and is easy to read and I read it in one day. I will close with the ten principles it offers as the basis behind a code.

Loyalty, Leadership, Kindness (not niceness – there’s a difference,) Humility, Purity, Honesty, Self-Discipline, Excellence, Integrity, and Perseverance.

Buy this book and use it to make a difference in the lives of your sons and grandsons and, as the book says, it’s never too late. And it gives examples to prove that.

I give: RAISING A MODERN-DAY KNIGHT; A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis. FIVE STARS – IT’s A MUST READ!

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