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Friday, April 4, 2014

Raising knights in 2014

I was looking over a Middle Ages unit about how a boy became a knight in the Medieval times with one of my sons. I started thinking about how time has changed. Boys becoming knights had to be a son of a knight, lord, a wealthy merchant or someone who held title and position in the court of the king. Training started at the age of six and at the age of thirteen the boy was promoted to squire (a shield bearer) focusing on combat. He was a knight in training. The ceremonies leading up to becoming a knight would consist of fasting for days, they would engage in prayer and contemplation. This was a very honorable task for young men (children) to accomplish and become a knight between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. If you weren't born and carried the requirements within your heritage, you were simply a peasant, working hard and barely meeting your daily needs in the village. Life was hard starting at a young age. There wasn't a choice not to work. Even when I was a child in the 1970's-1980's I didn't have a computer, an Ipod, a cell phone....and I remember helping my parents work outside in the yard, my sister and I did dishes every night. We had an expectation to be a part of our family and that means working and supporting as one. When we did play, it was outside climbing trees, making mud patties, and catching bugs. Time sure has changed from young boys becoming knights, and children enjoying (wanting) to play outside. When we wanted to see our friends, it was face to face. Today it's via internet. Apparently we have tons of friends through the internet but we've never met them....we never interact with them face to face. I have been asked from our seven year old for an ipod, our ten year old has asked for a cell phone."Absolutely not" I have explained around age thirteen is when they "might" get an ipod. For now, on a daily basis (weather permitting) our children are told to play outside. I don't care if it's swinging from a tree, jumping on a trampoline, playing basketball, riding a bike - whatever it is, it has to be done outdoors. We have a chore list, and our children take turns nightly doing dishes, they are expected to keep their own rooms clean, and bring their laundry to the basket. If they make a mess, it's their mess to clean. Homework always comes first. On weekends we allow some friend time, but it's also very important to maintain "family" time. My fifteen year old son today told me he was going downtown.......I then re-explained that "No, you are not going down town" I'm not a parent to be "told" it's by permission only. So unfortunately he's not going down town. Our government is our Country's best for many things, although I don't agree with on how our government has allowed by law to give rights to our children at such a young age. Age twelve a child can go into any health unit and obtain birth control in confidence without the permission of their parent. Their response to this, "It's better this then a surprise pregnancy" (For me, I believe this is educating children to sneak around their parents, teaching them they don't need to communicate with their parents to get what they need) At age sixteen a teen can do whatever they want but the parents are responsible for their actions until nineteen. I think if a teenager is given more rights, then they should also be responsible for them. Like driving for example. I find (after raising already four teenagers) that they learn quickly what they can and can not do. They learn they have the power and I truly believe that's the fault of our government. There is more disrespectful youth destroying our neighborhoods, stealing and becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol then ever before. Back in the sixteenth century thirteen year olds weren't demanding electronics and talking back to their elders, they were becoming squires, and honorable knights.  Respect is what's missing.  It's amazing how powerful children think they are. Unfortunately for our children, threats don't scare me and foster care isn't an option but respect is. It starts at home......children need to practice compassion for everyone (too not bully), they need to learn to have respect for their elders (regardless who it is), they need to respect the law, their parents and rules within their home. They need ongoing support from their parents to accomplish this regardless if they like it or not. Anti-bullying day is a great idea, although a day doesn't correct this issue - at home does. When I thought about the squires becoming knights during the Middle Ages, I thought we can still have knights in 2014 and into our future - it's all about early intervention at home. A bit of a task starting with older children, but as a parent I truly believe with time, patience, "respect for your child", having values and keeping consistent rules and valid expectations, we can raise some excellent knights. I will continue to try my best.... and I will toast to that!

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