What is a man? Have you thought about it? Have you told your son about it? Have you modeled it for him? Have you paved the way for him to be one?
That is the crux of Robert Lewis’s book, “Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood*.” I know I’m a little late on this train. The book is 13 years old and was revamped, updated, and expanded 3 years ago. However, I first learned about it last Thursday. I finished it on Saturday. That may tell you something.
Fathers and Grandfathers alike need to read this book in which Lewis relates a journey he and three friends travelled together in their own personal manhood and that of training their boys to be men. The basis of their plan is to resurrect knighthood. In the middle ages, a certain class of men received specific training to be men. When they started developing into men, they were assigned a mentor, becoming his page. They progressed to being a squire. Eventually, if they pursued their training well, they were dubbed a knight. The most profound aspect of this was none of these men had to question whether or not they had become a man, a knight. They knew it. They had seen knighthood modeled. They had been trained to be a knight. They had been inducted without equivocation into the ranks of knighthood.
Our society seems to be missing that today. Boys rarely see a vision cast for manhood. They are infrequently trained in any way to be a man. What most get today is a government-run education whose only goal is to supposedly prepare them to have a job someday (probably so they can pay taxes). Further, they are inundated and pummeled with media images of pathetic manhood as fathers have become the butt of most sitcom jokes. They are left to wonder even after they have left home and stepped out into the world to care for themselves whether or not they have ever become a real man.
What we need today is a brotherhood of knights. Men who have been taught what being a man looks like. Men who have been taught what a real man acts like. Men who have seen modeled how real men treat others, especially women. Lewis sets forth a plan of action tested and tried in the crucible of his own fatherhood.
In this book, he establishes a four-pronged vision of manhood, a three-legged code of conduct, and an over-arching transcendent cause to accomplish. Finally, he spikes the whole concept home by showing how to make this process unmistakably clear to your boys through the use of a series of ceremonies as they grow up to manhood, knighthood.
This book only scratches the surface. As I considered my own plans, mostly prompted by this book, I felt that it didn’t go far enough. But at the same time, it seems that having this plan, even if it didn’t seem to directly declare as much as I wanted it to about real manhood, ended up getting the job done better than I’ve been doing. Of course, that may be why Lewis has a ton of other stuff on manhood and raising boys. Additionally, while the book mentions baptism as a great ceremony, it neglects to demonstrate its essential nature to salvation and being in Christ. Further, the whole concept is predicated on the ideal theory of chivalry and knighthood, while it glosses over the real savagery and immorality committed by many knights. Someone buying into this idea may do more study on knighthood and find himself disgusted rather than uplifted.
Having said that, I’m excited about what I got from this book. I’m excited about bringing back the ideal of knighthood and the theory of chivalry. I’m excited to pass this book on to other fathers. I’m excited to start developing my own community of knights. I’m excited to start casting a vision with my boys of real manhood. This book will not be the end-all be-all of manhood, and I don’t think Lewis expects it to be. But it will be the springboard to propel me on a journey that I think will benefit my family, my boys, even my girls, and me.
I’d like to invite you on that same journey. If you are looking for a plan to help you raise your boys into men, I suggest you start right here.
*Yes, this post contains affiliate links. If I’m going to raise my boys to manhood, it is going to take some fundage. Help a father out. Click on the links and purchase the book. You’ll be helping you and me at the same time. Thanks. By the way, in case you missed it. Here is another affiliate link to help you purchase the book.