The Chivalry Movement
The world is overwhelmed with confusion. Confusion from gender identities to gender roles to what’s morally right and wrong. Along with the moral compass, scientific fact and God’s design, another art, if you will, that many would like to see destroyed is chivalry.
Thankfully, the circles I’m involved in continue to practice this art. Unfortunately, a growing number have no clue what this word means. Before we continue, let’s first define chivalry.
- the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code.
- historicalknights, noblemen, and horsemen collectively.“I fought against the cream of French chivalry”
- the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.
What does chivalry have to do with me? I’m not living in a time of knights and kings and round tables, right? Or am I? Chivalry is an act of courage, acting honorably, being courteous, living justly, and always ready to help the weak.
I am raising a house full of men. Yes, my boys are adolescents, but I’m not raising three boys. I’m raising three men. Men of honor, courage, and valor. Men of integrity and loyalty. Men who will unashamedly stand up for their morals and principles, like their Dad.
Unfortunately, many parents continue raising boys instead of men. I often here people say, “Oh relax! He is just a little boy!” Yes! He is a boy; however, he’s also old enough to understand and exhibit the signs of chivalry.
I ask you, why do we continue dumbing everything down for our kids? Very rarely are children taught chivalry these days it seems. Instead, children are taught to “get theirs” before someone else does. No longer are boys taught how to win a woman’s heart with words of love and poetry.
Instead, they use terms such as “bae” to describe a deeply rooted feeling of love. Children teach themselves to use emojis and acronyms to describe their feelings, good or bad, in a text.
Acronyms such as “ROFLOL” can be read in correspondence; a form of shorthand texting is now used in correspondence as well. Very few boys hold doors open for women or offer their seat to a woman or the elderly.
I witness this everyday. When did we go from teaching and training our boys to be respectful and honorable men to boys of entitlement?
I married a Soldier and there are many forms of protocol that are strictly adhered to.
- The wife always walks to the left.
- Umbrellas are held with the left hand and are carried by the husband.
- Head coverings are always removed when indoors.
- Uniforms will always have a professional and clean appearance.
- Walking and talking on a cell phone is strictly forbidden. I can’t tell you the times my husband has said “I have to go, can’t walk and talk.”
- Standing for the Pledge and National Anthem comes second nature. Soldiers will also stop their cars, get out and render honors for the colors when raising and lowering the flag.
Obviously this is just a small glimpse into some of the military regulations that are adhered to and many more cover dinners, formals, specific uniforms, and ceremonies. While this may seem overwhelming to some, it was truly a gift to our family and my boys learned much of the protocol early on.
You may be asking why any of this is important to anyone else if you are not in the military. Because teaching chivalry shouldn’t just be military specific and it shouldn’t be a lost art.
There are many things that my husband followed as a regulation for the Army, that we will encourage our sons to continue to do, even though he is now retired.
From a young age we start teaching our boys to be gentlemen. Some of the very important characteristics we teach them are:
- Opening the doors for others. This should be a given, but sadly it is becoming less and less of a thing for young people to be taught. We especially teach our kids to hold the door for women. This is important that they learn. It shows them the difference in males and females and allows them to use their “strength” to serve others.
- Saying Please and Thank you. This is so important, too. Kids should express their appreciation and gratitude. This skill can (and should) be taught from birth.
- Displaying manners at the dinner table. This also goes back to my husband being a Soldier. While we didn’t teach our kids table manners because he was a Soldier, there were times they were expected act like gentlemen at dinners and ceremonies. We taught our boys how to sit and eat properly at formal occasions.
- Carrying in bags and groceries. This is a good way for those boys to exhibit strength! Currently, my oldest likes to try to carry as many bags as he can in one trip.
- We also have enrolled our boys in Trail Life USA. This is a wonderful organization that keeps God first but helps teach boys respect, manners, and gives them an outlet to learn to be men.
“Boys long to be the hero not just because of the adventure and not just to prove their strength. No, boys want to make a difference in this world and to do so in thrilling and action packed ways.” Heather Haupt, Knights in Training
Heather’s book has been so amazing (so buy it y’all!). In some ways it has affirmed what we were already teaching. It has given me some very eye-opening ideas on other areas that we definitely need to be working on with our kids. One thing I particularly love from her book is her knight code! Take a look!
- Love the Lord your God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Obey those in authority over you.
- Stand against injustice and evil.
- Defend and protect the weak.
- Respect and honor women.
- Refrain from wanton 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.
Her code is brilliant and such a good way to encourage chivalry! Back in the days of knights, chivalry was such an important thing because it wasn’t just a quiet, private affair. It was a communal one. As Heather points out, these days boys are often seen as troublemakers, loud, obnoxious, and unnecessary. We can start a chivalry movement and join arms with other families to encourage the shaping of culture in our homes and communities to welcome boys in all their boyish exuberance and strength. (pg 259)
So if you have a knight or even a few knights, I encourage you to check out Heather’s book! Other resources I would recommend are…..
Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating BoysPraying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need MostThe Prince WarriorsRaising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest YesRaising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood