This past Christmas, Matt and I made this announcement to our family and friends:
We have some news!!! So thrilled to announce Baby Jackson is due to arrive June 2017! Though we think its most recent picture kind of looks like a hunchback alien, it might be the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen! It’s been a long road, and we are so very grateful that the God who walks with us in suffering is also the God who gives good gifts, most especially the gift of his son Jesus. Merry Christmas!
From the start, we both had this unshakable feeling that it was a girl. A hunch. Our families thought so too. And our doctor. I didn’t even bother thinking that hard of boy names, because I trusted my gut that much. We even occasionally addressed her by the name we picked for her when we talked sweetly to my belly.
Then, recently, we had our gender reveal ultrasound.
And lo and behold, IT’S A BOY!
I really hope my parental intuition improves.
After apologizing to our sweet boy for calling him by a girl’s name the past couple of weeks, we went out for burgers to celebrate our son – ya know, boy food in honor of our boy🙂
Matt daydreamed about camping trips with his boy, and when we got home, I set about reworking the nursery decor in my head, because I had already planned the nursery for a baby girl – Whoops! My goodness, I really was presumptuous.
We weren’t at all disappointed to find out it was a boy. Just…surprised and a little caught off guard initially. We were just so overjoyed to see a healthy baby on the screen!
Thinking back to earlier that day, I see now that the Lord was preparing my heart and mind for a boy, readying me for the happy news I was about to get at the ultrasound that afternoon.
You see, during the History lesson that morning, my students were continuing our study of the Middle Ages, focusing particularly on Knighthood and the Code of Chivalry that day. They had already learned that a knight first had to progress through the ranks of page and squire, learning good manners and how to serve and recognize needs. We then read about and discussed the very solemn oaths a knight took to prepare himself for his role as a protector and defender, a warrior for the king. These four were of utmost importance:
- Be brave and good.
- Defend the Christian faith.
- Protect the weak.
- Honor women.
And I looked into the faces of those 10 year old boys, men-in-training, sitting in class looking at me, listening with rapt attention as they were learning about bravery and manhood during the Middle Ages. This is the age when their little-boy-ness, I notice, is fading, and I can see their desire to be “older”, their emerging readiness to receive deeper manhood lessons.
And I was thinking silently to myself as I looked at them, “Oh, that they would grow to become noble men! Good men! Lord, protect their purity and let them be honorable and strong, and let them love you and follow you and be true defenders of their Christian faith!” I felt such a strong urge to plead for these boys quietly in my heart in that classroom during our History lesson.
I asked them if they thought those rules of chivalry apply today. Are they still relevant? Can and should they be followed? What does it look like? Can you think of examples? Through some more discussion, they concluded that yes, a noble man, a man who loves what is good, still follows these rules of chivalry today. And they talked about standing up to bullies and being kind to the outsider and being a voice for those who don’t have one and having bravery in the face of fear like telling the truth when it would be easier to lie…
They weren’t quite sure what honoring women looked like, so I charged them with first serving their moms. “When your mom comes home with a bunch of groceries, you be the one to rush out to help her.” And “When you see a little old lady at the store, you be the one to hold the door open for her. You be the one to let a girl go in front of you when you’re going out the door to recess.” Etc. All these little ways that young boys first learn to honor women.
And it felt like such a privilege to be teaching them these lessons. There were girls in the classroom too, but it was the boys I really honed in on that day – to call out their God-given role as men.
One of my favorite teaching memories will always be the Knighting Tournament, that special event when my boys test their strength and valor as knights-in-training on the tournament field after having gone through 4 months of preparation, first as a Page doing extra household chores with a good attitude and without being reminded, and then as a Squire assisting an assigned upper school knight periodically throughout the day – carrying his books, doing pushups, shooting hoops, etc. – and memorizing a lengthy Code of Chivalry.
(These pictures are from past years. Pictures courtesy of Mr. Blais, Elisabeth Sutton, and Ann Marie Hoyt. Brilliance courtesy of Trish Sefton.)
Afterwards, these gallant squires participate in a solemn Knighting Ceremony where they recite their Code of Chivalry and are officially dubbed as “knights” with a real sword. They receive two swords of their own – a wooden one with their name engraved on it and a Bible, their spiritual sword. It’s such a special day.
I feel so honored to get to be a boy mom soon and cannot WAIT to meet our son and play with him and love on him and teach him and … just enjoy him. My boy:)
Bring on the dirt and the sword fighting and the chivalry training! And may he love what is good and honorable.