Updated: May 24
Welcome to Badge of Honor - Family Ministries and Presentations. We have a masculine identity crisis in our culture and our young men are in deep trouble. As a nation, we have lost our vision for real manhood. According to Robert Lewis the author of “Raising a Modern Day Knight”, we have 3 questions to answer.
1. What is a man?
2. How does a boy become a man?
3. What processes produce a man?
Lewis says these 3 questions are missing in many homes today. Our sons are being stripped of their maleness by secular, modern, and feminist culture. He says that manhood is no longer seen as a unique calling but more of a problem.
What is a man? Lewis says we have failed to deliver a clear biblical definition on manhood. Many young men are confused because of their lack of connection with their dad.
When Does A Boy Become a Man?
So when does a boy become a man? Is it when he reaches puberty, leaves home, gets his first buck, has his first drink, gets his drivers license, graduates, or conquers a woman? We have failed to give a clear directional process to manhood. As a young man grows up, he often wonders, “Am I a man?”
As you can see, we need. . .
1. A Definition of Manhood
2. A Process to becoming a man and
3. Milestone Celebrations along the way to becoming a
In this blog post, we are going to look at the idea of knighthood taken from Lewis’ book. Knighthood rose from the social chaos of the middle ages. Knights were responsible to God and society, not just the Lord they served. Knighthood can provide hope for dads of today.
Puberty can be scary and is more than a physical transformation. It is a key time of instruction, challenge and celebration. Sons need fathers involved in their lives; loving them, teaching them, and discipling them with a masculine vision.
Knights followed a clear path to being confirmed in the Middle Ages. Ages 7-8, young men became a Page and learned the basics of Knighthood. At age 14, they became a Squire and served and were mentored by a Knight. At age 21, they were eligible for Knighthood which included an elaborate celebration. A Knights Roundtable included other men in his march to manhood.
Every Son Needs His Father
Every son needs his father’s vision, direction, and answers to the following questions.
1. What is a man?
2. What are a man’s responsibilities?
3. What does a man believe?
4. How does a man behave?
5. What should a man try to achieve?
Sons want to feel like a champion to their dad but when dad is absent, young men find their path to manhood muddy and unclear. We give our sons good things but not always the best things. According to Lewis, the best things are a . . .
1. Vision for Manhood
2. Code of Conduct
3. Transcendent Cause.
Gender neutrality has gutted authentic manhood in the US today. There is a cry for a rock solid definition of manhood. A vision for manhood should come from 3 sources; the community, family, (especially dad) and church.
Two prominent Bible characters are Adam and Jesus. Adam represents a life separated from God and a failed manhood. Jesus’ life represents unison with God filled with meaning and destiny.
Vison for Manhood
From these two, we can derive our Vision for Manhood. We’ll use the acronym R.E.A.L. A Man of Honor. . .
1. Rejects Passivity - especially in their home. They have a God given will to obey, a work to do and a woman to love. Adam watched passively when Eve was being tempted by satan. A lot of men tend to imitate Adam.
2. Engages with God. A lot of people think that Biblical
manhood is burdensome but it’s not. It should be liberating.
It is a call to real life.
3. Accepts Responsibility - Men of Honor today need to be trained at an early age by their dads what responsibility looks like.
4. Leads Courageously - with the truth of God.
Code of Conduct
A Code of Conduct is when a dad establishes boundaries and reinforces truth. When he does, a son is strengthened, acts like a champion, becomes chivalrous, generous, and is satisfied. Satisfaction in life is proportionate to obeying God.
A Knight’s or Man of Honor’s handbook is the Bible. It teaches loyalty, excellence, servant leadership, integrity, kindness, perseverance, humility, purity honesty, self-discipline and much more.
According to Lewis, father’s have 4 keys to effectively training a knight or MOH.
Setting a Godly Example - More is caught than taught.
Teaching Spiritual Truths - from the classroom of life.
Sharing Stories - that teach life lessons.
Reinforce - through affirmation and discipline.
A father would do well to identify his sons gifts and abilities at an early age and expose him to experiences to help grow those gifts. Nothing satisfies the heart more as to service to the kingdom in ones gifting.
A dad should also prepare his son to succeed in marriage by loving, leading and honoring the opposite sex.
Nothing squelches a man’s spirit like irrelevance. Lewis states conventional manhood holds these 5 characteristics.
1. Manhood equates with position. It’s about what he does rather than who he is.
2. Value is earned through work; out-work, think, play and
earn the other guy.
3. Success is the goal at the expense of marriage and family.
4. The reward is power in the marketplace.
There’s nothing wrong with career success, but it’s incomplete. Men need a Transcendent Cause or a mission beyond themselves. A Transcendent Cause has 3 characteristics; Heroic, timeless and meaningful. Jesus embodies all 3 of these characteristics.
Celebration is the crown jewel to becoming a man. In medieval times, on the day to becoming a knight, a young man would take a bath that would symbolized spiritual and physical purification. He would get dressed in knightly array The day would include fasting, attending church, a time in prayer, confession of sins, taking communion, and attending a dubbing ceremony at the alter. He would conclude the day by riding off on a horse while giving gifts and ending with a feast.
Most men today have never experienced a manhood ceremony. When creating manhood ceremonies, here are some components to incorporate.
It should cost something (either through time planning and/or money spent).
Provide an element of surprise.
Empower the vision of manhood.
Have an intense spiritual aspect
Have a blessing from dad
Involve other men.
Include a powerful gift such as a ring, rifle, sword, etc.
Design a Family Crest
You may want to consider creating a Family Crest in the form of a shield. Elements you could include are. . .
*Greek words along top that say “Fight the Good Fight”
*A helmet that represents ‘Fight of Faith’
*Greek phrase at bottom that says “One Lord, one faith, one hope
*A sword in the shape of a cross
*A crown with 3 jewels that represent the vision for manhood (reject passivity, accept responsibility, and lead courageously)
*A wreath below crown that stands for God’s greater reward.
4 Key Manhood Passages
Lewis says there are 4 key manhood passages; puberty, high school graduation, college graduation and marriage.
Puberty: Around age 11-13 when hormones kick in, a young man becomes a Page and starts learning the basics of being a Man of Honor. A ceremony at this time could be dinner and referring to the vision of manhood.
High School Graduation: There’s a new sense of freedom and start of a new chapter. A young man now becomes a Squire. He learns to serve and is mentored by older adult to become a Man of Honor. It’s time to make a mark for Christ.
The following is a possible ceremony: Dinner with group of dads speaking into the young man’s life. A group of dads increases the power of the night. Talk about leaving home, education or next chapter. What dads did right and wrong. Present the Family Crest. Let him know he will no longer be treated like a boy. Return home to other families. Encouraging comments are made along with a time of prayer.
College Graduation: This is the knight phase and dubbing ceremony. This is a formal initiation into manhood. Take an evening or the whole weekend. Discuss independence and responsibility. Present a special gift, maybe a ring or something of great value. He is now part of the round table, not a participant but a man.
Marriage: This is the oath stage. His primary responsibility is a woman to love. The night before the wedding at the rehearsal dinner, he is given the Family Crest for his new family. He is exhorted to honor his wedding vow and keep pursuing manhood.
Celebrating a Transcendent Cause
The 2 finest moments in your sons life is when he embraces a Transcendent Cause and when he hears his father say “I’m proud of you”. Remember, a Transcendent Cause for our sons is a mission beyond themselves.
Here is a Transcendent Cause ceremony you could do at your son’s baptism. If you are able, try to participate in and bless your son. It’s a time your son is committing to walk in newness of life with Jesus. Speak if you are able. Talk about your son’s positive characteristics; to continue to pursue Christ, reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and except the great reward. Afterwards, host a celebration dinner and let your son know how proud you are.
The Round Table
The Round Table or community of men from the past that defined manhood has become silent. Most American males are loners. In the middle ages, boys became Pages. Pages became Squires. Squires became Knights and were part of a masculine community. Enlist other men. This adds weight to the process of becoming a man. It expands your son’s spiritual and moral resources and deepens his manhood friendships.
Developing a Man of Honor is an art. Lewis Yablonsky once said “Boys look to their fathers for cues as to how to act out their male roles. . .” Dad’s, your decree is to model your message to your son. There is no substitute for a dad’s character and integrity.
Michael Josephson did a comprehensive two year study that showed 76% of High School students and 81% of college students listed their parents as the biggest influence in their lives. No one else came close. Due to the lack of a dad in today’s culture, many fatherless boys don’t become men.
Dad’s Who Think They Blew It
No matter the distance or the damage, sons remarkably want to reconnect with their dads if approached correctly. It’s never too late. You can’t go back but you can always go forward.
Here are 3 steps to moving forward with your son.
1. Interview Him: Restart your relationship and commit to a new beginning. You will need humility and a desire for understanding without defense, excuses or justification. From this point on, be the dad your son needs.
2. Confess to Him: Confess wrongs and ask for forgiveness.
3. Bless Him: Give him a father’s blessing. Let him know you are proud of him. It can be the most important thing you do.
God’s blessing as you raise a Man of Honor!!