Thank you for making me your special princess!
Teach me to trust and obey
my parents and teachers
who love me as you do
So I can help my friends
feel special too!
In Jesus name, Amen.
I want to have a great day.
Watch over me as I learn and play.
Help me to listen and obey
my teachers, my parents, and you.
Remind me to always be a knight
Show me how to do what’s right
And walk away from every fight.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 (CEV)
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor
Come and set up
so that everyone on earth
will obey you,
as you are obeyed
Give us our food for today.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
My son Rohan is now “4 and 3/5ths” and will be graduating from Hearts and Hands Christian Preschool in the fall. We are wrestling with which school he should attend next. The primary criteria are:
- Christian formation
- Academic challenge
- Convenient location
This appears to be Open House season, so I need to compile a list of candidates to start scheduling and ranking them. I figured I might as well do it online in case others find it useful or have suggestions.
One of the most controversial aspects of Knight Club is that it treats pride (“By Myself”) like anger (“Not Fair”): an emotion which is prone to sin, but is not necessarily a sin — and can even be a virtue.
While it is true that the vast majority of Bible verses mention pride in the context of sin, a number acknowledge its positive role. Here are some that are often translated using the word “pride.”
Here is the SUPERHERO WORKOUT we did for the last few Knight’s Club meetings.
- THOR- Arm Circles
- FLASH- Run in place
- SUPERMAN- Super Jumps
- SPIDERMAN- Spider Walks
- WOLVERINE- Scissor Jump Claws
- HULK- Wall Smash
- IRON MAN BLASTS- Side Lunge and Punch
- CAPTAIN AMERICA- Duck, Step, Dodge
- INVISIBLE TORCH- Side Jumps
Calling all Fathers and Sons:
Rohan and Davey invite you to join us in a couple weeks for “Knight Club” – a time of physical and spiritual exercise for boys and dads*
4 PM to 5:30 PM Saturday, June 16th
Newhall Park, San Jose (the corner of Newhall Street and Campbell Avenue)
We will sweat. We will pray. We will grow stronger — together!
*Feel free to invite any man you know who might be interested, inside or outside the church — even if they don’t have sons of their own to bring. God needs men, and so do we.
I AM A KNIGHT (fist straight up in the air)
KNIGHTS DO WHAT’S RIGHT (pound fist in hand)
I KNOW WHAT’S RIGHT (salute)
I WANT WHAT’S RIGHT (fist over heart)
I CAN DO WHAT’S RIGHT (fist forward)
WE ARE STRONG (make muscles)
WE USE OUR STRENGTH (hands on waist)
TO PROTECT THE WEAK (hands reaching down)
TO HELP OUR FRIENDS (hands straight out to the side)
TO SERVE THE CHURCH (hands forward, palms up)
TO HONOR GOD (hands up to heaven)
AMEN! (hands clasped together overhead)
Yesterday I gave my son Rohan (age 3 and 5/6ths) a set of colored dragons and attempted to explain my four-dimensional system for emotional maturity. He grasped the basic idea quite quickly, though I had to modify some of the terms (e.g., “Obedience” instead of “Humility”).
What’s interesting about this list is that the “Spurs” column is more maternal/feminine, while the “Reins” are more paternal/masculine.
One of the ways I tackle “wicked problems” is by exploring different possible answers in order to help clarify the essential question. My posts on flying and mastering the dragons of manhood have been useful in helping me recognize that the two main questions Knight Club is trying to answer are:
- What does it mean to be a man?
- What can we do to help our sons become those kind of men?
I believe the most critical aspect of authentic manhood is “moral authority,” where people trust you will do the right thing.
In my previous post, on mastering the three dragons of manhood, I discussed the ideal masculine character as harnessing the:
- Red Dragon of Anger
- Green Dragon of Fear
- Gold Dragon of Desire
In this post, I want to explore using anger to go fast, fear to go straight, and desire to go high.
In Sheila Walsh’s Will, God’s Mighty Warrior, there’s a scene where Will and his buddy Josh are pretending to be on a quest against monstrous beasts. They run into Will’s large English sheepdog. Josh is starting to defend himself, but Will assures his friend that “I have tamed this wild creature, and now use it to serve me.”
One of the hot trends in education these days is Mastery Learning: students are expected to master a concept before they move on, not just fill their seats until the class moves on. It is similar to Ranks in the Boy Scouts of America, where you need a certain number and type of accomplishments to move from Tenderfoot up through Eagle.
So what is the analogue in Knight Club? What are we mastering?
I often feel I owe my success more to my “vices” than to my “virtues.”
What is a virtue? What is a vice?
- Goofing Off
- Subversive Activity
- Delusions of Grandeur
Society — especially school, but the church is arguably worse — tells us these are crimes to be stamped out.
They’re half-right. I call them the vicious virtues. When misdirected, they can easily destroy both self and society.
But if you can master them — and through them master yourself — you can fix the world.
How do we create an alternative form of learning that embraces creative chaos and harnesses the vicious virtues, rather than fighting them?
The first rule of Knight Club: you must talk about Knight Club.
In the comments on my first Knight Club post, my friend Jor Bratko talks about “raising adults”, and points out that:
the legitimacy of my authority like all legitimate authority comes from love: the care of the other
He is absolutely correct. I actually knew this, but I didn’t understand how it applied to fatherhood. Part of the problem is that the English word “love” refers to (at least) three different phenomena, which in this context I call Baby Love, Bro Love, and Boss Love — loosely inspired by the four loves described by C.S. Lewis.
The following is based on 1 – Introduction – The Training of a Knight – Age of Chivalry – Thomas Bulfinch, adapted surprisingly little to match the challenges of a preschool boy in modern America.
- Respect their elders
- Serve the church
- Help their friends
- Protect the weak
I added the converse, to help clarify appropriate versus inappropriate behavior.
- Disobey their elders
- Disrupt the church
- Fight their friends
- Take from the weak
Recently our church has been wrestling with what it means to be “missional” — a family on mission together. My wife and I have been struggling with the same question, particularly with regards to raising our precocious (and sometimes rebellious) 3-and-5/6ths year-old son Rohan. I knew he needed to be more respectful and obedient, but (for whatever reason) I didn’t feel comfortable simply demanding that by fiat. As a result, we’d been more-or-less stuck on this issue for many months. For Lent, Respectful Obedience has become one of my top four requests (along with Emotional Connection, Sustainable Integration, and Viral Transformation).
Thursday night, I decided to pray about it while putting Rohan back to sleep after he woke me up at 1 AM. I felt God say I should look at how He dealt with his children: Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, etc. In most of those cases, God chooses someone, gives them an assignment, and then — after they’ve taken a leap of faith — He makes a covenant with them. In short, I need to start thinking in terms of discipling Rohan (teaching him to obey God) — rather than merely parenting Rohan (teaching him to obey me).