Today, I unveil the official knight’s Code of Chivalry that ended up in the book and a free poster download for you as we begin the countdown to the book release at the end of May! Here is my original chivalry challenge post that inspired the book!
Today, I want to take you back to the beginning, six years ago when we first embarked on this quest.
“Boys, boys, come here. I have an exciting announcement!”
At the sound of exciting and announcement, they came running. Would it be ice-cream, an extra trip to the park, a playdate with friends, the end of naptime? Their minds were teaming with wonderful possibilities and I could see that their curiosity was piqued.
As my three boys gathered around, I pulled out a few books, including my childhood favorite, St. George and the Dragon, that I only pulled out for special occasions because my mother had inscribed a special note to me in it and my boys tended to get a little rough with their books.
“I have a mission for you, a quest that only the bravest and strongest of boys can undertake.” Eyes widened as they took in this news, not one of them was even tempted to admit weakness or fear.
“I think it is time to embark on knight training.”
“Knight training?” came the quizzical response.
“Yes, we are going to train to become knights. We will read about the exciting adventures of knights and practice your sword fighting skills.”
Cheers erupted as they started waving imaginary swords.
“But most importantly, you will learn how to live according to the Knights Code of Chivalry. Every young page would begin to learn what it means to live a chivalrous life and knights would remind one another to live up to the code. You boys are no different. I think you are ready for the chivalry challenge!”
And with that I revealed the code of chivalry with a grand medieval flourish and began reading with the accent of a town crier making an important announcement.
“Hear ye, hear ye. Calling all knights in training who aspire towards the lofty role of knight. Listen to these words and take heed. Learn them well and walk in this way.”
And thus began our journey into knight training.
Six years ago we posted this in our home for the first time, little knowing how much it would affect our lives. Six years of learning to live by the code, six years of their imagination lit by the wonder of the Middle Ages and the feats of great knights. It has changed the way we parent and changed the way our boys have viewed these years of childhood. Life is by no means perfect. We are all very much in progress. But there is purpose and direction as these knights in training, our men in the making, progress through the years of childhood.
And today, I am sharing with you the code of chivalry that forms the framework for my upcoming parenting book and to let you know that my publisher has moved up the release date to May 30th!
Roots of Chivalry
Chivalry is something that has fascinated people for over 1,000 years. The roots of medieval chivalry date back to the time of Charlemagne. We see threads of these early ideals of chivalry woven throughout the French epic, Song of Roland, a song sung by troubadours all over medieval Europe. This epic juxtaposes the story of two knights, highlighting the treacherous betrayal of one and the unyielding loyalty and bravery of the other. From this poem, 19 elements of the knight’s code of chivalry were showcased as the fledgling idea of knighthood took shape and force. Of these, I chose ten elements to focus on with my children and write about in my upcoming book.
Some historians contend that the idea of chivalry was formulated as a means of civilizing the warrior class. This very well may have been. Charlemagne who preached these tenets often struggled to live up to it and felt the pull between his faith that taught mercy, forgiveness and care for others and the warrior spirit that wanted to justify anything for the sake of victory and conquest. Charlemagne and others knew that without belief in God and a holy standard of right and wrong that a warrior became a mercenary, hiring himself out to the highest bidder. Training in chivalry along with training in the art of warfare was needed.
An entire culture was built around the ethos of the chivalrous knighthood. It became so compelling and so powerful in the shaping of young men that soon the nobility sought to include their sons in this knight training whether or not it led to their sons actually becoming practicing knights.
Why? While knight training developed the mind, it also touched the heart. It sought to teach empathy and social order that made for civilized societies. Human nature, of course, made for an imperfect living out of the code. This is why knights continually called themselves to return to these ideals. Knight training raised up a generation of leaders who were ready to stand against injustice and protect the weak. It raised up a generation who pursued the way of generosity and pursue honesty in their dealings. It raised a generation who persevered until their very last breath as they gave their best to whatever quest they embarked on.
It is this embodiment of chivalry that has captivated people ever since and still today has the power to captivate our boys’ imagination and propel them towards becoming the kinds of leaders that our world so desperately needs.
It is this training that I write about in my book that will release in May. What does it mean to take up knight training in the 21st century? How can we embrace our role as trainer and help our boys embrace their role of being “in-training?” This is what I write about because these are questions we need answered here and now as we raise up the next generation.
This summer you will have the opportunity to issue your own chivalry challenge and invite your boys into the adventure of Knight Training! I wish I could step back in time and give myself this book back when I started. But the beauty of this challenge is that it spans the entirety of childhood for our boys just as much as it did for the knights of old. And in our cultural climate, we desperately need a return of civility and chivalry! So without further adieu, I give you a sneak peak at the Code of Chivalry!
DOWNLOAD: Knights Code of Chivalry Poster