Robert Lewis’ book, Raising a Modern Day Night, has given me a vision and passion for raising my son with intentionality, purpose, and substance. Luke is only three years old at the time of this reading but it has already got me excited about teaching him what it means to be a man. Let me summarize his basic message and strategy for raising godly men, or “modern-day knights,” in his book.
His Three-Pronged Message:
- A Vision for Manhood—Father’s should define manhood for their son’s by casting a clear, understandable, yet substantial vision of what it means to be a man of God. Lewis’ definition: “A real man is someone who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, lead courageously, and expects the greater reward.”
- A Code of Conduct—According to Lewis, all father’s should create a code of conduct to teach their son that is Scripturally-based. It needs to be something that you are willing to live yourself. Lewis’ code of conduct is centered on three points:
- A will to obey
- A work to do
- A woman to love
- A Transcendent Cause—All fathers should take it upon themselves to nurture the faith of their son’s. It should not be left to anyone else, nor should they be left to fend for themselves. Here are some important points:
- Tell him when he is old enough about why you love the Lord and why you decided to be a Christian. Tell him your story, the good and bad parts.
- Team up with other dads in teaching your son what it means to live out the Christians life (prayer, bible study, service, generosity, worship).
- Pray with your son daily
- Serve others along with your son
The most meaningful part of the book for me was his description of the manhood ceremonies. They made me cry in anticipation for what my son will experience in the future. I hope many dads can put together something like this for their sons. These ceremonies are to work as “rites of passage” moving a boy through different life stages unto manhood. These ceremonies are intended to bring encouragement, love, and accountability to the son.
He mentions four ceremonies that he did with his sons ushering in four stages. He does point out that ceremonies can be meaningfully done for many other significant times. His ceremonies use knight language. They include:
- The Page Stage: This ceremony is done around puberty. The ceremony is to make the boy aware of his entrance to a new stage of life (adolescence) which brings new challenges and responsibilities. This ceremony can be a series of studies on the challenge of adolescence that can conclude with a celebratory meal where the father presents the vision of manhood to his son for the first time among friends and family.
- The Squire Stage: This ceremony is around the son’s High School graduation. This is celebratory meal where a son is celebrated and many speeches are given in recognition of the son’s achievements and character. Charges are given by many of the boys loved ones, including the father, to continue to live out the vision of manhood in a new stage of independence. Many hands are laid on the son as they pray over him.
- The Knight Stage: This ceremony happens around college graduation. This is the formal initiation of their sons from boys to men. They knight their sons and give them rings as manhood gifts. There is a charge and prayer is at the center.
- The Promise/Oath Stage: This takes place when a son marries. This ceremony is to remind the son that he has a “woman to love” like he was always taught. He is also given a family crest to put in his own home and encouraged to continue to live out the vision of manhood. He is also encouraged to take the vision forward to the next generation.
Lewis gives many examples in the book of other ceremonies that can be done. I highly recommend the book and encourage families to team up together and raise their sons with a shared vision. It is a book that has really encouraged me to gain a passion for seeing my responsibility to be the primary spiritual and manhood trainer of my son.