Six little words.
“Can I help you with that?”
He coupled them with a welcoming smile, and a hand reached out to grab a door handle, on the way into the coffee shop where he was training to be a barista. The ladies he spoke them to were so taken aback, they were nearly speechless.
Now, my second-born is 19. He’s got tattoos and a motorcycle and he was wearing a black leather jacket. This might have caused the reaction, or it might be (as he believed) a sign of the stark lack of gentlemanly behavior that exists (or doesn’t) in our current culture. But when that young man spoke words of kindness to two women in a coffee shop, he crossed a cultural line of expectation and opened a door for genuine conversation, real connection, and sharing the love of God.
I’m raising five arrows – four young men and a lady, and we value honoring others with our words and actions. We’re all broken people and sometimes we shock ourselves with our ability to be impatient or rude when we’re inconvenienced, but overall, I see my children intentional about courteous behavior, because it’s something we expect, and it’s something we believe exemplifies God’s love toward us.
The thing is, honor and courtesy are vehicles that can be used to change hearts and dare I say, change our world.
Recently, I got an advanced copy of Heather Haupt’s book, Knights in Training. As I dug into her writing, over and over again I found myself highlighting, saying “YES!” out loud, and generally doing inside-claps that she’s put into words a plan with a heart for bravely raising boys-becoming-men who will impact their world for Good. In the book, she’s celebrated the uniqueness of boys, and elevated the calling they have… dared parents not to settle for the world’s broken view of what men can be. She lays out 10 principles for a life of honor, a code of chivalry that goes soul-deep and sky-wide. In her words, she throws down the gauntlet, issuing a challenge to “step into your role to raise an honorable man.”
In just a few short chapters, I knew I’d met a long-distance “kindred spirit” in Heather. Her book is a call-to-arms for parents – and it gives practical application for helping our boys become all they can be, and loving God, loving people, and impacting their world in ways beyond what we dare to imagine. Although our family is mostly past the stage where I can have them dress in helmets and carry shields (but oh, we did this when they were little!), ideas like “boys need to know why” and “boys need a vision” are being refreshed and given practical application in our home even now. Principles like respect for authority and setting a proper table ring true to my heart and have me wanting sit all my mom-friends down and say “let’s DO THIS!” even as I realize we’ve watched God do so much of it in our boys’ hearts already.
Offering to hold a door for a stranger is the tip of the iceberg. Defending the tender ones, being a man of your word, being ready for “battle,” these are all concepts grounded by one driving passion – Loving God with all your heart. When that is the motivating force for our boys and men, it shapes everything they do for good.
Thankfully, my guys don’t just hold doors for strangers. In our own home, they love deeply. They make mistakes, sure, but they pursue community with their family and with those in their lives. In particular, I’ve been a spoiled mama to watch them love their sister well. They protect her, they respect her, they seek her wisdom, and they care for her in any way they can. And in part because of their chivalry toward her, she too is becoming all the woman God has called her to be. She’s not perfect, but she believes she is precious because she’s created by a good God who loves her dearly, and she’s seen that love applied imperfectly but diligently by her dad and her brothers.
I’m not going to lie; when I step onto a bus and men stare at me from their seats as I grab the handlebars and hold on tight, I’m not cool with the lack of honor. But I know that if I don’t give up, if we pursue honor and give it even when others don’t know they need it, we are taking small steps that can impact the generations to come. I’m thankful Heather has written these thoughts to encourage parents to take up the call and parent our boys with passion… creating a modern-day#chivalrymovement that has far-reaching effects for both men and women.
A few favorites from Knights in Training:
- A list of books recommended for boys. I get a lot of requests for this information and I love that Heather has compiled a list I can take to the library and put to use… a fellow mama who’s been frustrated by the “dumbing down” of books for boys, I’m excited to see others calling for a higher road.
- Attention to the “why” behind how boys think as well as our parenting of them.
- A focus on not just acting a part, but truly living out a life of honor toward others.
- Practical tips and hands-on exercises to apply at any age toward helping sons be strong, and brave, and wise in their daily life.
I can recommend Knights in Training because I see the impact it can have on our boys now, and on their world in the future. I dare you, mama – take the call and run with it!
*I was given a complimentary copy of Knights in Training in exchange for a thorough review. All opinions my own. I will only recommend books I personally have found helpful/encouraging/truth-based.
Heather Haupt is the mother of three knights-in-training and a spunky little princess. She wants to be intentional during these years of parenting and raise children who will make a difference in this world. Heather is an educator, writer, and popular speaker. Recognizing the brevity of childhood and the power of a parent’s influence, she encourages and equips parents towards intentional parenting, pursuing God, and delighting in the adventure of learning. She is the author of Knights-in-Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys as well as The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. She writes at www.heatherhaupt.com.
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