Beyond Please & Thank You: Practical Ways to Cultivate Chivalry In Our Sons

He groaned and heaved his weight against the steel blade held captive by the rock.  Once again mustering all his available strength the young boy furrowed his brow, braced his feet and strained upward.  The unforgiving stone somehow gave way and Arthur lifted Excalibur triumphantly over his head declaring to all that he was to be king.

valorcourtesygenerosityninja moves

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with medieval lore and history.  The tale of King Arthur is one of my favorites and I’d be lying to say that my view of knights hasn’t influenced my dreams for my son.  When I think about my son, aside from loving Jesus and following him, I want my son to be chivalrous.  I know, I know, it’s quite an archaic word, but chivalry was the standard by which a good knight was measured.  A good knight was known for his courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in his arms--translated for today, a good knight was kind, polite, brave, giving and had some ninja moves.  These are all attributes that I want to cultivate in my son’s life.  Er, well maybe not the ninja moves, but y’all get my drift.

How am I supposed to do that when he has four sisters?  That’s right.  I said four.  There is a lot of estrogen running rampant through my household and while most people hear of my son’s plight and say, “Poor boy,” I think he’s pretty lucky.  He has a wonderful opportunity to learn how to treat women and practice chivalry.  I’d love to hear how you encourage chivalry in your boys and I thought I’d start by sharing some of my ideas.

Courtesy:  We say please and thank you.   We hold doors open for others, whether they be male or female.  We’re working on table manners and, ahem, bodily function appropriateness…need I say more?  One day recently, my son was having a bit of a bad morning and he decided that he would act out by not holding the door for his sisters.  Instead, he would open the church doors just enough to slide his little body in and have it shut behind him.  He found himself practicing his door holding skills for the next twenty people or so that came to church.  Thankfully, those parishioners were kind enough to oblige me my little teaching moment and allow him to open the door and greet them.  We haven’t had an issue holding doors since.

Valor:  What exactly is valor?  Well, it’s bravery in the face of danger.  This one can be a little tricky because A) there’s not too many things that I feel comfortable pushing my son into at his age that are scary and B) I want to allow my son to say no when something makes him uncomfortable.  My son is only six so the idea of courage is something that I feel can cultivated by being an encourager.  I want my boy to know that I am in his corner, so when he feels unsure, he knows I am cheering for him.  Another time that valor can be practiced is at the hospital or doctor’s office.  More often than not, your boy, like mine will get scrapes, cuts, and (possibly not too serious) other injuries.  Commending them for their bravery and courage is important.  Maybe your son could be the spider or ant-killer around your house.  The point is, give them an opportunity to display bravery and then commend them for it. I also pray with my son, something along the lines of, “I know that Roman is scared right now, but please help him not to be afraid and instead to trust You.” Simple, but powerful.

Generosity:  Today’s culture is rampant with the mentality of GIVE.ME.MORE. and I feel like I spend a lot of time battling a materialistic point of view.  The best way to combat the desire to amass more stuff is to GIVE.  Whether it is giving at church, or purging toys, make and opportunity for your son to give and see the fruit of his gift.  With his sisters I try to encourage my son to give of his TIME by helping them accomplish a task.  Sometimes it works…sometimes not so much.

Dexterity in His Arms:  Ahem, as I said.  Ninja moves.

So there you have it, a few ways you can encourage chivalry in your sons even in this day in age when chivalry is almost extinct.  Feel free to leave your ideas for encouraging chivalry in the comments…I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and I’m sure the other MobSociety members would as well.

Prayer for the day:  Dear Jesus, please help my son to display the different characteristics of chivalry.  Show me ways that I can encourage and build generosity, valor, and courtesy into his life.  Let him be willing to go against the grain when it comes to chivalry.  Help him stand for what is right and true.  Amen.

Additional Resources:  

Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by: Hal and Melanie Young

 

Kristina is a single mom to four chatty girls and one son who tries to get a word in edgewise.  You can find her writing here at MobSociety as well as on her personal blog, KJTanner.com  When she’s not writing or working as a sign language interpreter you can find her baking up a storm in her kitchen or reading a book.  You can connect with her more on Twitter by following @kjtanner.

Protectors, Providers & Leaders

We get asked all the time, “What do you mean by real man?”

Understandable, because our book is called Raising Real Men, but it’s amazing how often the questioner is strident, even a little belligerent. “My son’s sensitive and quiet, are you saying he’s not a real man?” is the unspoken question, I think.

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Being a real man isn’t about wrestling alligators or climbing Mount Everest. An art historian or a hair dresser can be a real man, too. It’s really about serving God in fulfilling the basic duties He’s given all men. Men are called to be protectors, providers and leaders. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us how many of the challenges of raising boys come from those same qualities that will make him a real man if he learns to submit them to Christ.

Protectors

Boys can be amazingly aggressive. They want to play war, or read about it. Their tend toward anger, while their moms just want peace and gentleness. We’ve got to teach them the righteous use of aggression – to protect the weak and innocent and to execute justice. So, we teach them to pretend to be cops, not robbers, to be soldiers, not pirates and Secret Service, not counterfeiters. And, I try to remember that God didn’t mean them to be like me when they’re noisily wrestling all over the floor!

Providers

God made boys to grow up to provide for their families one day. Our boys don’t like to do things that don’t seem profitable to them. Busywork is the worst, but they have a hard time seeing the value in chores, too, until we explain what they contribute to the family. When I say, “Hey, thanks for rotating the dishwasher while I helped that mom on the phone. You were a part of that ministry because you freed me up to do it,” his whole attitude changes. They want to contribute to the family. They want to make a difference.

Leaders

All our boys will be leaders of some kind. Some of them will lead companies or churches or communities, others just their own homes, but they’ll need to be in charge. In boys, this tends to show up in two ways. Some boys shirk leadership because they’re afraid of failing. They need to be encouraged, supported and given small pieces of responsibility, then more as they show themselves faithful. Most younger boys try to take charge of everything around them and struggle with respecting their parents – even when they’re just five! The Word of God tells us, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all,” so it’s right to teach our young leaders to obey. We just can’t leave it there; we also have to teach them to handle responsibility. It’s a challenge to me, even though half of our boys have grown and left home, but I have to remember what’s God’s making out of these guys. If I look at what’s pleasant or convenient to me, I’ll miss the boat and I won’t prepare them for the mission God has for them. That’s why we want to raise real men, God’s men, who are just as courageous to stand for righteousness in an art gallery as others may be on the frontline of their more obvious battle.

Pray with me,

Father, please help us to prepare these boys of ours to be protectors, providers, and leaders. Help us not to let our own convenience or sensibilities get in the way of what you’re doing in their lives, but instead to work hard to prepare them to be your men.

Related Resources

Our book, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys, is the book we couldn’t find raising our own – Biblically-based, but also practical – helping us to know what these things look like in real life.

Melanie YellowBy His  grace only,

Melanie Young

When GQ Defines Manhood For Our Boys

There is no doubt that they are all boy. The constant talk about passing gas, their enormous appetites, and the reckless abandon with which they approach the outdoors are more than enough proof.

But soon they will be men. And being a man Biblically is another thing entirely.

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My husband and I work in the entertainment business as producers. Not a meeting goes by where we are not confronted with ideals that are contrary to ours as Christians. The central battle is always about what makes a good story-what do audiences want?

We sit in meetings on terraces with lattes and a well-coifed representative of Hollywood tells us that they want conflict. Drama. And what they really mean is that they want turmoil. Debauchery. Titillating content that shows every man is out for himself.

That’s exactly what the world will try to tell my sons too.

GQ and HBO will say a man means approaching the world with guns blazing with attitudes of authority and dominance. Don’t ever take no for an answer. Conquer. Seduce. Stand out. Use people up and if need be, cast them aside when you are done.

Become a bachelor whose only desire is self-gratification. When things get tough in marriage, walk away.

So what’s a mom to do who believes that we are to be in the world, but not of the world? How do I raise my sons to embrace Biblical manhood when everything in our culture is telling them that being a man means testing the waters with multiple women or pursuing a career at the expense of quality time with his family?

The answer is simple but powerful:

We become mothers of knights, arming our sons with the qualities that God tells us we must put on to fight the battle.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:13-18Did you catch that?

1. Arm them with Truth. Memorize Scripture with your sons so that they will be righteous, peacemakers, faithful, and true.

2. Teach them to pray. Pray about big things and small things, at all times, at any moment. Model it for them-start by saying a prayer when you get in your car and ask God to cover your children in specific ways. If they stub their toe and are in tears, stop and pray with them. When their best high school friend betrays them, stop and pray with them. When they are given an accolade, stop and thank God for the gift with them. When you don’t know what to do, stop and pray with them for God’s wisdom.

 When our sons know the Truth about what makes a man a man, we need not fear as they enter into battle. They will recognize the decoys and the victory will be found in knowing that their identity is in Christ alone.

 Will you pray with me now?

 Dear Father God,

Thank you for equipping me and my sons with everything we need for life and Godliness through Your Holy Spirit. Help me to plant Your Word in their hearts by memorizing Scripture and use it to mold their hearts and minds into men of Godly character. Help me to model for them what it means to pray. Give me the courage and the words to pray for my boys. May they be armed with Your armor that they may enter the world, confident in their identity in Christ and willing to love others as themselves.

In Jesus Name, Amen!

Here are some helpful resources for you in training your sons to be knights of light in a dark world:

 1. Proverbs For Parenting: A Topical Guide for Child Raising From the Book of Proverbs by Barbara Decker

 2. Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman (This is a Handy Wall Chart For Quick Reference of Attitudes and Behaviors with Corresponding Bible Verses)

 3. A Cult Shaped My Past-How The Bible Formed My Future And Our Family’s Main Goal!

Amber lives in Southern California with her husband and 3 boisterous sons under the age of 6. She writes about faith and family from the perspective of a work-at-home mom, Hollywood producer and writer. You can follow her God-sized dream journey and their “Testoster-Home” at www.motherofknights.com.

What Love Is Not

Every morning when the alarm clock sounds, my husband reaches over to turn it off and hops out of bed. (I do not use this word “hop” lightly. There is no distance for him between waking and sleeping. He literally bounds from sleep into wakefulness. Me? I take a bit longer. Okay, a LOT longer.)

He rouses the boys, proceeds to the kitchen and starts making breakfast for the three of them. (He does not make breakfast for me. This is not an unkindness. He knows that neither I, nor my stomach, are fully awake until 9am.)

-He was not given

This is my favorite time of day. (Not because my husband is the one making breakfast. But, that is awesomeness for sure.)

I love to lay in bed and hear the dialogue among the three of them. A few years ago I wrote this on my blog about our mornings…

What a precious time of day this is for me. Not only to be able to wake up at my own pace (slowly) while someone else is on kid-duty, but to eavesdrop on it all. I love the sound of the espresso machine — when I hear that I know my light is about to flip on, and a steaming latte is about to appear on my nightstand.

I love the sound of the dishwasher being emptied, because it means I don’t have to do it myself. I love the sound of quiet footsteps in the hall, and the daily interactions and rituals between father and sons.

The precious exchange of words.
The gentle tones.
The whispered “Good morning, Sunshine!” and the responding sigh and yawn, or squeal: “Daddy!”.
The sounds of stretching and hugs.

The soft scuffle as jammies are pulled off and head, arms and legs are stuffed into the day’s attire. Two voices, one chirping a constant commentary, and the other in a manner so gentle and manly — the voice of a Daddy in love with his son.

What a gift to meet the day with sounds such as these.

My husband, Gabe, didn’t grow up with a dad. He never had a man kiss or hug him when he was a boy. He had no role model to follow of how a father behaves towards his children. He was not given an example of fatherly love until he came to know the best Father of all–only then did he find out what it meant to be a man, a real man.

Not the definition so often propagated by our media.

Our sitcoms tell us fathers are foolish; goons who offer nothing to the family but hassle and comedic relief. Our movies tell us that violence is manly, and that qualities such as tenderness, gentleness and affection are feminine, while violence, mayhem, and bravado are masculine.

I sometimes quake at the world I’m raising men in.

I don’t want my boys to watch TV and think that fathers are useless and stupid. I want to raise men who are strong, who are confident – unafraid to stand up for themselves or others. I want my boys to see that strength lies in integrity and humility, not muscles and mayhem.

Love, and affection, and tenderness…these are not unmanly.

In fact, I would argue that tenderness is about the manliest thing a father can model for his sons.

Love is not unmanly. Love is the manliest attribute of all.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I Cor 13:13 MSG

What You Can Do Today:

  • Be sure to praise and honor your children’s father within earshot of your kids. Brag about him, openly and often! Praise him and encourage him when he does show affection to your children.
  • Remember that your husband is a man, not a mom. Allow him to parent differently from you – different isn’t wrong! Let him learn, make mistakes, and be a part of your parenting journey a as a partner with you, not as your subordinate parent.

Today’s Prayer:

Lord, help me to encourage the father of my children, to lift him up and not to criticize. Help him to have the courage to show affection and emotions in front of our children. Give us both the wisdom to nurture their hearts, and minds, and souls within your will for them. Empower their father to trust you steadily, hope unswervingly and above all, love our children with your extravagant love.

In the name of the One who loves us even more, Amen. 

Like this Article? Here are additional resources for dads:

The Measure of a Man: Twenty Attributes of a Godly Man by Gene Getz

 

Biblical Qualities of Manhood

There is a quiet strength about him that you see almost instantly. While he is funny, gregarious, and gifted in welcoming others, it is his unwavering trust in the heart of God that you see threaded through his life, conversations, even his writing.

He is my dad.

Kristi Griem Dad with Quote

“What is it?” you might ask, that makes this quiet strength? My dad trusts the heart of God. I am not talking about the kind of trust where you “give things” to Him, or “trust in God” (and not in your super suit, like Jr. Asparagus!). I am talking about an “en-trust.” Where you trust the heart of God in a way that you know all things really are for your good. That you entrust your fears, joys, and sorrows to Him, knowing that He is not just big enough to hold them, but perhaps allowed them for a greater purpose.

Who Had this Quality in the Bible?

When I look at my son and think about qualities of Biblical manhood that will serve him and the Kingdom down the line, I think of Abraham. He trusted the heart of God to uproot his family, move to live within a different people group, and just obey. He trusted the heart of God in a way where obedience wasn’t a consideration, it was a part of who Abraham was. Abraham didn’t just trust in God, he trusted the heart of God, entrusting his future, his family, and the generations that would follow, in His hands. You can see Abraham’s trust in the heart of God when God promises generations will come from him, who yet remains to become a father. And his trust in the heart God surfaces again, when God asks him to sacrifice his own son. We see this same trust in the heart of God in David, Joseph, and in Esther.

Why Trust the Heart of God?

When you trust the heart of God, the most outlandish, crazy, illogical things seem to pale in comparison with what a lack of obedience would look like and mean in your relationship with the Creator. There is a quiet, confident understanding that He knows YOU and really does have your best interests in mind. That God does have a plan for your life-not to harm you, but to prosper you. To give you a hope and future (Jer 29:11). Whatever He is asking you to do is not something that He will not equip you for. He will never leave you or forsake you.

As this quality of Biblical manhood becomes present in your son’s life, and he begins to trust the heart of God, he has a quiet confidence in Whose he is. He trusts that the Lord will provide. That nothing that happens is a surprise to God, or that He thought you were incapable of handling this mountain you find yourself at the base to climb. It is so much easier to obey and follow God when you understand and trust His heart.

The Key Thing About Learning to Trust the Heart of God

Here is the thing about learning to trust the heart of God:

  • while you are learning, sometimes leaning on the guardrails that keep you there, your children and those around you are learning and watching too. I always think I am learning something just for me. Or that I am the only one affected by what I am learning, but the truth is, what you are going through, or what you are learning affects you and those around you.
  • You learning to trust the heart of God actually teaches your son a quality of Biblical manhood that will serve him for a lifetime. My dad did not learn this overnight. He would tell you it is a life lesson that is still in the making. The impact it has had is generational now though. Trusting the heart of God is not just a life lesson he learned, but one that my children and I are learning too.

Practical Application

  • Look at the areas of your life where you might not be trusting in God fully. If there is an area you can begin to talk to your son about, share with him how you are learning to trust the heart of God in “____” way. You might not be there yet, but the learning process will encourage them as they too, seek to trust in the heart of the Father.
  • Begin weaving how you are trusting in the heart of God into your conversations. Remind yourself and your son(s) how the Lord came through and you were able to trust in His heart.

Today’s Prayer

Lord, I pray for the courage to trust You. To trust that the heart of who You are and that plans you have for me and my children are good. That they are plans to prosper me (and them) and not to harm us. 

Like this article? You might find these resources helpful and encouraging:

My Upmost for His Highest, Circle Maker and Circle Maker for Your Kids.