book review: RAISING A MODERN-DAY KNIGHT

>> Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RAISING A MODERN-DAY KNIGHT: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood
by Robert Lewis

This book begins by establishing the dismal reality of masculinity in today's Western society. Lewis describes the aching void in the hearts of men who grew up without fathers, without guidance into manhood, and who were left to navigate the world's expectations of them without support or encouragement from wise older men.

He explains the deep core need that every boy has to be recognized and validated by his father, and how fathers often curse their sons with lifetime fears by withholding from them a working definition of masculinity. Boys are longing to know: what does a man look like? how does a man act? when do I become a man? will I know when I am no longer a boy? how?

And our society has no structures to provide answers to these questions. Other, often more primitive, societies have initiation rites, coming of age celebrations, even brutal rituals that mark a boy's passage into manhood. From that day on he knows that he must act like a man, that he is no longer a child. But our culture boasts none of these.

Lewis delves into history to explore the medieval age of knighthood and compares the process of training for knighthood to a possible answer for this manhood vacuum. Being a knight provided a man with three things:

  1. a vision for manhood
  2. a code of conduct
  3. a transcendant cause.
Lewis asserts that every boy and man today desperately need the same three things, if they are to fully blossom in their masculinity. He contrasts the way that Adam in the Garden of Eden rejected his vision, violated God's code of conduct, and shrank away from his cause - with the way that Jesus Christ, the biblical 2nd Adam, fulfilled all three.

Then Lewis outlines the vital importance of using ceremony to mark milestones in a young boy's life as he progresses through the stages of boyhood toward becoming a man, until a final ceremony where the respect of fellow manhood is bestowed on him by his father and other mature men in his life.

Filled with stories, illustrations, scriptural foundation, and practical ideas for ceremonies and celebrations - Raising a Modern-Day Knight is a must-read for any parent with a son.

We're handing it to my dad next, as the only living grandfather that Munchkin will know. He's promised to read it, so that he can join Hubby in a united effort to present concepts of manhood once Munchkin arrives. After that, we're planning to pass it to my sister's husband - as the only Uncle in the family so far - so that he can join in the community of men surrounding Munchkin's arrival.

While Lewis makes many profound statements throughout the book, two stood out to me with incredible clarity:
  1. "Real manhood in a son never comes by accident." (p 156)
  2. "The Decree proclaims an immovable standard that each generation must never forget: Only the sons of knights become knights!" (p 162)
Thank you God, for letting me marry a man who has discovered his own Knighthood!

If you've got a son - I hope you go get this book! You won't regret it.

© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.

1 comments:

Tanya Bindernagel July 15, 2009 at 4:33 AM  

Thanks for the review! I see the impact of absent and dysfunctional fathers daily in my counseling sessions. A lot of men can't act like men, husbands, fathers because they have no clue how to and have never actually seen what these roles are really supposed to look like. I'll have to read the book and see how I can order some to give to some of the soldiers in my unit. And of course it'll make an excellent resource for me as I parent my little son.

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