Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Raising our Boys::Vol. 1

About 5 years ago, Rand read the book Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding his Son to Authentic Manhood, by Robert Lewis. It was good and got us really thinking about a plan to intentionally raise our boys. Well time went by, and as you know, lots of life happened, and all of a sudden we realized that we were approaching Brendan's 8th birthday. If we didn't start getting "intentional" this was never going to happen. We started doing a lot more "we" I really mean Rand. He would print things off, and I would read them and we had lots of talks about it. Mostly this is a task left for Dads, however, I really enjoy being involved as I can and Rand desiring my input as we decide on a path to intentionally raise our sons to becoming true men. So we have a pretty good plan that includes goals and tests and ceremonies along the way. We have these little dudes for just a while and we are intent on doing our best!
We are using "knighthood" as a model and also the Hebrew/Old Testament model of a family which includes a special ceremony at age 13 declaring our son a "man" (sounds young, doesn't it?!).

This is the beginning of Brendan's first phase of training. A page. Here is a little info.:
At age seven, a nobleman's son began training for knighthood. During this first step of training, boys were called pages.
As a page, a boy learned how to fight, how to use weapons, and how to ride a horse into battle. He learned manners from the nobleman's wife.
Like everyone, pages had a strict rule of conduct, a certain way of behaving that they had to follow. The rules were very detailed and very clear.

This weekend Rand and Brendan are heading north for a short retreat to signify the beginning of his training. When they get back we will have a special dinner and present Brendan with a plaque (each phase will have a special gift). The hope is that these will be significant moments in his life on his way to independence and manhood.

While we won't be teaching our boys how to fight (well, not like medieval knights), how to use weapons, or how to ride a horse into battle, we will be teaching other things. Things like practical life skills, worldview education, character development, and theology are a few of the (very broad) topics that he will be expected to begin mastering by his 13th birthday. The hope is for his role in our family to change by the time he is 13 and for a significant "letting go" to happen on the part of his parents! (yikes) His training will continue in a different way between his 13th birthday until he leaves home.

Rand and I are excited about this and think it is really important because our society seems to be producing a lot of confusion in this regard. When exactly are you a man? Is it when you get a car, graduate from high school? Turn 18? Turn 21? Move out? What is a man? Is it just your age that makes you a man? Having a legitimate job? Having a family? The ability to fight? Is it being "tough"? Is it being mature? What is it? Boys get thrown into the world without a handle on how to make decisions and understanding their place in the world, and who they are (this is true for girls too). They are left to figure it all out, trial and error. I think that all boys can benefit greatly by an intentional effort on the part of their parents, especially their dads, to get them ready for the world, to teach them how to be leaders and to know what in the world they are doing! It's much more than just being a loving's about being strategic.

There will be much more to share along the way. I'm hoping to send a camera with them this weekend so hopefully I can share about their retreat when they get back.

By the way, we covet your prayers along the way. We would love for other Christian men, who love us and our boys, to be involved and walk with us (specifically Rand and the boys) on this path, and to leave a little bit of your wisdom-print on our sons as well. It is a big enough deal to do this once, but we have 3 (maybe 4!!!) sons to raise. Here we go!


Rachel said...

That sounds so great! Those boys are so lucky to have you guys as their parents!!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! What an amazing commitment to your children's lives. I am so excited to see them grow up and become true men of God with an understanding of what that means. Rand you are just the most awesome dad and Kaylee you are the most awesome mom. You could be paving the way for many other people to make this commitment to their children now and in the future. Love from the Great Marshmellow

Krisy said...

You guys are great. I am buying that book. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Wow, the journey has begun. Having read that book myself, thanks to you and Rand giving it to me, I am excited to see how this unfolds. I think the book is fantastic and showed a great model that could be followed and used, with additions and subtractions as fits the mold that you want your son(s) to follow. I certainly hope that my skills as a fisherman can be deemed useful, and if not, that is fine as well. If I can be of any service to my nephew's journey I would be happy to lend a hand, or line, or rod, or reel, etc.
Uncle Bubba