on June 15, 2001
Robert Lewis has written a top-notch, easy to understand, easy to implement book to help Christian dads rear godly, masculine sons.
He defines a man as "....someone who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects the greater reward." His definition of ideal manhood is excellent, especially his emphasis upon "rejecting passivity."
Although he does not always lay out an exact plan for readers to follow without variation, he shares his own experiences and ideas as a suggested approach.
The book is divided into five parts: The need for a modern-day knighthood, The Knight and his ideals, The Knight and his ceremonies, the Knight and his round table (community of men), and the Knight and his legacy. Part two, "The Knight and His Ideals" is alone worth the purchase price of the book. His suggestions for cermonies that celebrate a boy's advancement into manhood are creative.
This book helped me come up with some related ideas. As a result of reading this book, I implemented a "Knights of Light" training seminar for our junior high boys (I am a pastor); I compiled info on courtesy, respecting women, etc., and we had a knighting ceremony for the guys that completed this training. Lewis has written a book that addresses a real gap in our culture; he understands masculinity, particularly Christian masculinity. Go for it, dad!
I picked up Raising a Modern Day Knight while attending a recent Family Life marriage conference. I'm sure there isn't a dad out there that doesn't want to raise his kids properly, and especially his son. I have a five year old and know that right now, I am his hero, his best friend, the best guy in the world. I don't want to squander his admiration and unconditional love. I want to know how I can raise my son so he will be a strong man. This book attempts to answer that question. This is a Focus on the Family book and broaches the subject of parenting from a Christian point of view. It's also a very short book and can probably be read in a couple of hours. In its brevity, you aren't going to get a lot of content, but what you do get is good stuff.
Author Robert Lewis equates raising a son to the process of raising a young man to be a knight back in the dark ages. At times, the analogy is cumbersome, but the book still offers a lot of good points. Also, the book is filled with tons of scriptural references, which at times caused my eyes to glaze over. I feel the scripture references needed to be backed by more examples or antecdotes. This book is primarly about teaching your older kid how to be a man, and how to do it through ceremonies. The book doesn't include much discussion on how kids think and act, so don't expect that in here. This book is probably for men with kids approaching puberty and older, because it focuses a lot on guiding your young boys into manhood through memorable ceromonies.
Lewis men need to teach their boys how to be men by providing a strong example in Jesus, living right in their own lives, guiding them through memorable ceremonies and surrounding them with a community of men. The ceremonies are a big focus of the book, and although the author says he provides a lot of examples of different types of ceremonies, they really are all the same. You may not want to give your son a family crest at his college graduation, but the book does stress the importance of ceremonies for your children Some of the most power ful segments of the book are when fathers mention they failed their sons, or when sons said their dads weren't there for them.
Every father should read this book and every father should understand that the role of a father is the most important job they will ever have.
on December 4, 1999
Lewis, Robert (1997) Raising a Modern Day Knight. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers. If fathers are looking for a book to help them raise their sons into Godly men, then Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis is the book for them. Lewis has written an insightful book that can help fathers shepherd their sons into manhood. Lewis provides not only suggestions but also a plan: a plan that he has implemented with his own sons. Lewis writes that fathers no longer have a definition of manhood and lack a strategy that they can use to shape their sons into men. Using knighthood as inspiration, Lewis breaks down the stages of a knight to develop a definition, a process, and a few cerimonies that form a guide for fathers and their sons. The author's vision of manhood is one that fathers should look into. Lewis states that "A real man is one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects a greater reward...God's reward(60). If you are a father willing to invest time and energy in raising a son then Raising a Modern Day Knight should be on your book list.
on April 27, 2006
By far, my greatest joy in life is being "Daddy" to my toddler son. I take that responsibility very seriously, and am constantly looking for ways and times to refine my performance in that critical role. Robert Lewis' excellent book has given me some different and exciting perspectives on my dad role and responsibilities that can and should be contemplated by dads everywhere.
I was first drawn to the book by the cover's image of a modern-day dad passing an ornate, manly sword to his son. I did not initially comprehend the connections between medieval knights and my relationship with my son, but since my son likes to play with knights, dragons, and castle toys, I felt compelled to explore the story behind the cover. What I discovered is that Lewis effectively balanced historical research and his deep biblical/religious/spiritual knowledge to explain and reinforce how the supportive environment for medieval knights' prescribed progression from page to squire to knighthood can be applied to the raising of sons in today's chaotic and challenging world.
On the very first page, Lewis asked some seemingly simple, yet profoundly challenging questions that I knew were mine, as a dad, to answer: "How does a boy grow into a man? A real man? A godly man? One with character, conviction, and vision? Where does he go to find a manly sense of himself? Who confers upon him the title and responsibilities of manhood?" In the pages that followed, Lewis shared his detailed insights, efforts, and experiences in answering those questions both as a father and as a pastor of a church. The book's twelve chapters were organized into five parts, based on the history and modern-day perceptions of medieval knights: I-The Need For a Modern-Day Knighthood, II-The Knight and His Ideals, III-The Knight and His Ceremonies, IV-The Knight and His Round Table, and V-The Knight and His Legacy.
Lewis' easy-to-read writing style made reading this `Christian fatherhood primer' both enlightening and entertaining. Although my son is not yet old enough to be a page, I now have a much deeper appreciation for my role and responsibilities in guiding and nurturing him to become a modern-day knight. I believe dads, sons, families, and communities as a whole would reap many rewards in striving to live up to the values and principles presented in this book.
on September 7, 2008
Lewis addresses a major need in our society: raising our boys into men. This is a timely message because we live in a society that has completely forgotten that there is such a thing. Or else its definition of a man is far short of what the Bible calls 'a man'. Lewis offers many helpful tips on how to celebrate rites of passage from boyhood to manhood - tips that I may just use with my own sons.
That said, I felt that his overall view of what a man is still fell short of the biblical standard. What was lacking in this book was 'how' this is done. To come up with good insight and goals to strive for in wanting to become a man is one thing - to show young men 'how' that is to be done is quite another. Our power to become men and to live like men and to treat women as they should be treated and to stand for truth the way we're called to is rooted firmly in Jesus Christ, not in our best intentions to be men. I'm not sure that Lewis wouldn't agree with this; however, I did not read much of it in his book.
We cannot just give ourselves a good vision of manhood and then strive, in our own best intentions, to live it out. We WILL fail at this if it is not rooted in our life source Himself, Jesus Christ. I appreciate what Lewis has done - he has narrowed the gap between what little writing is out there on biblical manhood and what should be. But I would have liked to have seen our Savior magnified more as the Cornerstone for how such men are made and sustained.
on July 19, 1999
Lewis has written a book that should be handed down from father to son, father to son, father to son... The similar relationships between knighthood and the men God wants us to be is amazing. By using himself and his sons as the model for this book we the reader get some insight as to how to proceed with the actions he lays out for us. If I could choose only one book to use as guide for raising my sons, this would be it.
on February 23, 2000
What Robert Lewis has to say, actually says volumes. This book is a must read for any father who has a son. Our world is so vague on the issues of 'authentic manhood," and the authors of this text make a noble attempt of answering those hard questions, while our society and culture remain blank. I highly recommend this book and suggest that it be read by anyone who asks such questions as : what is a man; and when does a boy become a man?
This is the second book I've read about how fathers can raise boys into godly men. After watching Courageous, I had a new resolve to be a father who loves, guides, and leads my son into manhood. This book helped me think about how this looks.
Too often, fathers are the buffoons of the family. At best, indifferent; at worst, abusive. Our culture seems to broadcast the message that men are not important, and that manliness is synonymous with arrogance, homophobia, and chauvinism. We are afraid to say these five little, reveling words: Men and women are different. Children need both parents to develop fully to their potential. More specifically for this book review, boys need a father to have a healthy concept of manhood.
I want to raise our son to be a strong, godly man, and I know that how I model that will influence him in his growth. This does not mean he can only play with trucks and play rugged sports. It does mean that he is a man who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, and leads courageously. I want my boy to grow into a man who embraces this for the glory of God.
I'm not sure what this looks like in all situations, but books like Raising a Modern-Day Knight help me to think more about the issues. The book is not perfect; in fact, I found much of the story annoying. I do not want to have coats of arms or swords or manhood ceremonies (they seems to have one for each minor event). However, I do like that we must train our boys to be men, and that does not merely occur with puberty or high school graduation. I see many young men in the halls of high school who display their fathers indifference in raising them. They are not young men; they are boys in men's bodies.
May God grant me the conviction and confidence to raise my son differently than the world tells me to. May I be a better model for manhood than our culture is.
on August 20, 2010
We are a Christian family that definitely believes there needs to be a Biblical vision for manhood and for womanhood in raising our children. So, I was eager to read this book. Unfortunately, I didn't really find the book to focus on "Raising" a Modern-Day Knight.
There were a few good chapters on the importance of a Biblical vision of manhood, the end goal that we should have in mind. And some relevant Scripture passages about what a man should be like. This part of the book was relatively useful. Unfortunately, I didn't find the rest of the book to be as much so.
There was a *lot* of information about holding key manhood ceremonies for your sons to commemorate their progress and challenge them to keep pressing on. This was the main focus of the book, the culmination being built up to. I understand the author's point about the value of such ceremonies, but it was disappointing to see how huge an emphasis they were given relative to everything else. To have such ceremonies is NOT a Biblical command. Much less to make them costly, which is one of the key factors. I could understand better if the emphasis were on them being special. But, the admonition that parents *should* be having four of these ceremonies per son and that they *should* be costly is without basis in Scripture and is an unfair burden for many families that may not be as financially well off, or may be larger with more sons, than the author's ($1000 ring anybody?). Ceremonies are *a* tool parents can use, but there should be a lot more to raising a son to godly manhood. Where is the rest of it?
To train children up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord in everyday life IS a command of Scripture, and there is next to no practical help with this topic. The author gives a goal for manhood, the things that need taught, gives lots of helpful information if you want to plan manhood ceremonies every few years. But, what about the years in between?
The title of the book sounds promising, and the general premise is a good idea. The book does reasonably well imparting a general vision of what manhood should be. But, there is very little help in how to train your son in these things in everyday life, and there is way too much emphasis placed on ceremonies, making parents feel that this optional tool is a must for any good Christian parent. I personally would not recommend this book, unless I knew someone who really wanted to have some sort of special manhood ceremony for their son(s).
on March 16, 2001
This book provides a road-map for the alarming responsibility a father assumes when his son is born. It helps men identify a boy's most intense, and often least verbalized, needs and offers ideas of how best to meet them.
No book, that I know of, better explains why modern young men flounder in the dangerous seas of adulthood. `Raising A Modern-Day Knight' not only offers thought-provoking suggestions of how to rear a son into a courageous, awe-inspiring man; it also challenges today's father to be one.