Ep. 13: Raising Boys to be “Knights” with Heather Haupt
“You are to use that [strength] to defend the women in your life against men that are abusing their strength.”
In Episode 13 of the podcast, I’m talking with Heather Haupt about her book Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys.
After interviewing Kathleen Buckstaff about her book Get Savvy, reading this book and interviewing author Heather Haupt was a natural follow up. While we want our girls to learn to protect themselves from harm, just as important is raising our boys to be the “noble” men that Buckstaff describes.
After reading several books on the topic of knights, Haupt was inspired to use the concepts to inspire her boys. In her research, Haupt discovered that “chivalry is so much more than how a man treats a woman. That was just a small aspect but it [chivalry] was a whole code of conduct and way of living.”
Haupt used the principles of a Knight’s Code of Chivalry to create a “Knight Training” for her young boys (ages 6, 4, and 3 at the time she started the training six years ago). In describing how she introduced the concept to her boys, Heather recounted what she told them:
“We’re going to learn to embody not only the skills the knight had, but his heart, because that is where his true strength lies. And so I read to them the Code of Chivalry, and I said, ‘This is what I’m calling you to live up to. Are you up for the challenge?’ and they gave a resounding, ‘Yes!’”
Haupt’s boys loved using foam swords and learning to follow proper dueling rules, practicing climbing and jousting skills, and practicing archery. In addition, they mastered “squire’s work,” which included chores like setting the table and tidying up their “knight’s abode.” Learning the art of disagreeing, manners, and situational awareness are part of the chapter on the code of “don’t give offense.”
The code became a way to both teach practical skills and discuss character traits Haupt wanted to instill in her sons. She ends each chapter with a section called “Throwing down the Gauntlet,” where she offers ideas for teaching each aspect of the code.
While Haupt writes from a faith-based perspective (she opens with the code of “Love God”), most of the knight training concepts are applicable for families of any religious background who want to teach boys values like standing against injustice, respecting women, speaking truth, persevering, and pursuing excellence. Even though my own boys are beyond the age of training with toy swords, I found many of the concepts still applicable.
Find out more about Heather’s work and speaking events: