Most of us have heard of the chivalrous knight during the Middle Ages. His character was a refreshing change from the barbaric character of most of the people around him.
What most people don’t know, however, was that a boy began training for knighthood when he was seven or eight years old. He would be sent to a knights home and was expected to learn what he needed to know in order to become a page.
The child preparing to become a knight lead a disciplined life. He would rise early, attend to personal hygiene, and attend morning mass. He was instructed to extend a courteous “good morning” to whoever he met.
He was also instructed to work diligently at whatever was set before him for the day. He was to be truthful in all he did and said, be sincere when he made a promise, love God and his neighbor, be respectful of all men no matter what his financial status, be humble, and not elevate himself beyond his place. When he was speaking to another person, he was to be courteous, hold still, and look whoever he was talking to in the face.
Good habits must be developed and practiced early in life. I strongly feel like the standards have been lowered as to how we expect children to behave. If someone as young as seven was expected to do all that I listed above, I believe a child today could do it too.
We need to raise our bar of expectation for kids and teenagers today. Important habits are developed during these years, many of which won’t be undone later in life. I believe that inside each and every one of us is a desire to be challenged. Children are rarely challenged today. We expect the bare minimum, and we get the bare minimum. We can train our younger generation to act respectfully, even when those around us act a little bit like modern barbarians. 🙂