Written by Robert Lewis, Raising A Modern-Day Knight is a book written primarily for fathers of boys. This book was given to me by two different and unrelated people in a short period of time, so it seemed to me that I should probably read it. Being a father of three boys of my own, it would be a fitting read.
One of the first things in the book that gripped me was the question, “what is a man?” As the author states, most men do not have a clearly defined idea of what being a man truly is. We have our ideas of course, but we lack a polished and confident answer. If we are to effectively guide our sons into authentic, biblical manhood, then we must know what it means and what it looks like.
As is evident from the title of the book, the theme of knighthood is prominent. Knights were trained by men, often other knights. At the age of seven or eight, a boy could become a page, and in so doing was removed from the care of their mother. This was the beginning of their training. By the age of twenty one, they became eligible for knighthood. They were known for their loyalty, honor, chivalry, and never deviated from the knight’s code of conduct. They were seen as true men.
While we are no longer in need of training knights as they did in past times, we are in desperate need of training up true men. So many boys, in this country in particular, are growing up without fathers, or with fathers who are uninvolved, irresponsible, or who have no clue what a real manhood is about.
Lewis does a great job helping you process through what biblical manhood is. His “building blocks” for manhood are defining these three things: “A vision for manhood”, “A code of conduct”, and “A transcendent cause.”
Beyond these things, Lewis also goes into two things in great detail that are a very important part of the process of raising boys, namely, ceremony and the involvement of other fathers. Ceremonies are often some of the most meaningful and memorable moments in ones life. Lewis highly suggests using this tool as your boys grow up and reach important milestones such as puberty, high school graduation, sending off to college, and marriage. He gives numerous examples and practical ideas for this throughout the book, many of which are quite impressive. I found myself wishing I had had some experiences like that as I had grown up.
The involvement of other fathers also plays a very important role. Lewis committed with two other fathers to raise their boys together and be involved in all of their ceremonies and important times in life. Boys will relate to other men differently than their fathers. And boys “can sometimes dismiss what they’re hearing with the plaintive, ‘Oh, this is just Dad talking.’, but hear the same thing from another man and listen intently. A community of men committed to raising sons to become men has great potential to be more effective than one father on his own.
What then is a man? Lewis defines a man as one who “rejects passivity”, “accepts responsibility”, “leads courageously”, and “expects the greater reward.” Each of these are detailed out in the book.
It was a very enjoyable and easy read. It was well-written and had a good and natural flow. I would definitely recommend this book for fathers of boys. I don’t think it should be the top choice if you are only going to read one book on parenting, but this is a very good addition to other parenting books.