Give Your Son A Knighthood
Forgive this reflection being aimed at boys. Its just that they seem to be in a bit of a pickle at the moment. Much of their influence on society is being described as toxic. So - here's an idea we might share with them that might straighten a few of them out.
GIVE YOUR SON A KNIGHTHOOD
I’ve always loved the stuff of legends. As a boy living in Malaysia, I (Sir Lancelot), would engage in epic battles with my brother (Sir Galahad) against ‘snotty’ Boswell (Sir Mordred), his two dragons, both cunningly disguised as mottled dogs of indeterminate breed, and his sister, (Queen Guinevere) who I loved.
Inspired by heroic bedtime stories, we engaged in daytime battles with bamboo swords and catapults. At night time we would try and endure the hydrogen peroxide daubs on cuts with a stoicism that King Arthur would approve of.
A few years later found me living near Winchester in England. There, in the Great Hall was the Round Table. Nearly 10cms thick, about six metres wide, the table weighed over a ton and was made from 121 separate pieces of oak. On it was the names of the knights of the Round Table, including that of the treacherous Sir Mordred. The table made everyone equal. There was no favoured place, they were Brothers-in-Arms, described by Alfred Lord Tennyson as "a glorious company, the flower of men".
Later still, in the summer before going to university, I sailed late at night into Tintagel Harbour in Cornwall. Guided by white spray and a curious luminescence on the rocks, we made our way to a small beach under the ruins of Tintagel Castle. It was here Arthnou, a 6th century prince of Cornwall, and source of the Arthurian legend, lived with Merlin, his wizard. It still is an enchanting place.
The knight is needed in places other than Tintagel or Gotham City. We need men committed to honour, valour and loyalty. We need men:
To break the heathen and uphold the Christ.
To ride abroad redressing human wrongs.
To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
To honour his own word as if his God’s,
To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
To love one maiden only; cleave to her,
And worship her by years of noble deeds,
Until the won her …
(Alfred Lord Tennyson ‘Idylls of the King’)
Yes - this is alarmingly old-fashioned and much out of step with the post-modern world. Totally agree. But, before we hit the delete button, it is as well to remember the veins of gold found in legends and old writings.
There are still bullying dragons to be slain. Maidens still exist whose character must be rescued from Facebook slurs. Battles against addictions and depression must still be fought.
It is my hope our sons become modern-day knights devoted to that which is true, prepared to battle for that which is right, and be able to take a swab of hydrogen peroxide on a wound without tears.