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Published on June 30th, 2014 | by Rachel Hatcher

Looking Back: Lessons From Knights and Ladies





I love those old fairy tales. You know, the ones where the valiant knight saves the princess? The ones where chivalry and honor are boldly demonstrated and called for? Those ones.

It always makes me sad when I’m out grocery shopping and I don’t see men opening doors for women anymore, or helping them carry the groceries. Or even when I look at relationships where either the man is mistreating his girl, or the girl won’t let her guy be a man.

Don’t you see something wrong with this picture? How far society has strayed from the knights and ladies of old? Even simple etiquette is not as valued today as it once was. Women were graceful. Men were noble. Women weren’t feministic. Men were … well … men. And I’m not saying mankind was perfect then (certainly not!). But they at least valued good character.

Hilary Clinton promises to further women’s rights. Men are supposed to kick back and watch as women take charge of the world.

Uh, what?

True Manhood

True manhood does not compromise a woman’s purity, but heroically protects it. How many times do we see in our culture the exact opposite of this?

Knights and princes protected women in those days … not hurt them. Did you know that one out of every three women will be abused at some point in her life? And that about 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence? On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or partners in this country every day. Every day. What does that say about our country?

Also, you see in this generation how our young men aren’t getting up off the couch to work. To be honest, they’re lazy. You don’t see very many of them these days rising against the norm of video-gaming and actually doing hard things. Our young men truly have the potential to conquer some amazing — maybe even crazy — adventures God has in store for them.

I love this quote by Raising Real Men by Hal and Melonie Young, “Manliness is much more than brute force, it’s a heart attitude of confidence and boldness to accomplish the mission given by God.”

And also, all those knights had a code that they followed, that should still be applied today, called the “code of chivalry”. If you’ve read books like The Song of Roland or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, you probably know what I’m talking about.

  • To fear God and maintain His Church
  • To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
  • To protect the weak and defenseless
  • To give succour to widows and orphans
  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offense
  • To live by honour and for glory
  • To despise pecuniary reward
  • To fight for the welfare of all
  • To obey those placed in authority
  • To guard the honour of fellow knights
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • To keep faith
  • At all times to speak the truth
  • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
  • To respect the honour of women
  • Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
  • Never to turn the back upon a foe

This is what a typical knight was to follow. And shouldn’t this be what Christian men should follow?

True Womanhood

It’s amazing how the femininity of the women of old has been lost amongst the petitions for women’s rights, and articles about women being the “better” gender, and so on.

Young ladies, what happened? Why act offended when a guy offers to open the door for you, or help you carry that huge load of books? That’s what they’re supposed to do. By not letting them show you respect and honor, you’re not letting them be men. I think that if more young women rose and acted like ladies, more young men would stand up and act like men.

Remember the days when women would wear dresses? Now, I am not saying that women should wear skirts and dresses and not wear pants. My point is: what happened to dressing ourselves so we respect others around us, and carrying ourselves with grace?

It seems like, now, we dress to show as much skin as we can. Yes, it will give us attention. But, really, is that the kind of attention we want? Modesty and grace are beautiful, and I’m sure most (respectable) guys would agree.

In conclusion, I find myself looking back to the knights and princesses and nobles and ladies, and longing to see the chivalry and grace abound in our culture once again.

But I can’t do that all by myself.

Will you join me and take a stand, rise up against the low expectations, the jeering from friends, the lack of Christian morals in our country, and grow into true men and true women?


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About the Author

is an ordinary 16-year-old with an extraordinary God, who aspires each day to pursue God and to glorify Him. She enjoys reading, hiking, and drinking coffee on rainy days. She strives to be an inspiration to those around her by sharing her love for Jesus and being an encouragement in times of need.



  • Maitlyn

    Thank you Rachel. This was amazing for me to read.
    I love reading about and studying the Middle Ages, but until I read this article, I didn’t know why. Now I understand that I love it so much because of the beautiful contrast between the roles of men and women then, and today.
    This was so encouraging!
    God bless. I’m praying for you, sister! :)

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Thank you, Maitlyn! There is something so … set-apart about those stories, isn’t there? I’m glad it was encouraging!

  • Bethany

    Girls, if you’re interested in getting a whole lot more of what Rachel was just saying, get the book “It’s (Not That) Complicated” by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. It’s one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. Warning: you might not like a lot of what they say. But if you lower your defenses and truly examine yourself (like I had to do many times) you will get some serious help.

    • Rachel Hatcher

      YES that is a great book. Highly recommend it.

    • Latesha Stephens

      Thanks! I will look into it!

    • Heidi Erickson

      Yes this is an excellent book. Thank you so much for recommending it. :) It is such an encouraging and helpful (and enjoyable! they are so witty) read. The sisters combine their own thoughts and advice with interspersed comments on the same subjects from guys. It is SO helpful. I often crack it open when I find myself in need of encouragement and some refocusing.

  • Madison W

    This was wonderful, Rachel! I absolutely agree with you. Thanks for speaking up about this! :)

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Thank you!

  • Rachel Wordes

    I totally agree with you Rachel! I love all the stories about princes and princesses and knights and castles…… I wish it were still like that today! I mean, i even liked the dresses in medieval times! Thank you Rachel for making this world a better place. :)

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Thank you, Rachel, for your sweet encouragement!

    • Sadie Clements

      I love the dresses, too!

  • Latesha Stephens

    Absolutely agree! We are with you on this! Me and my 10 children. We homeschool and our last year’s curriculum was based on precisely this very theme! Good job. Great article!

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Oh wow — how awesome! And thank you :)

  • Cassidy Calcutt

    Really great article, it will definitely give me something to think about.
    Off topic question: Do you do any backpacking?

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Thank you! And, actually, I never have. I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t yet :) Do you?

      • Cassidy Calcutt

        My dad and I go quite a bit :) it’s a lot of fun :)

  • You’re not alone Rachel! I’ll join you, “and together we will rule the galaxy!” (Just kidding about the galaxy part. I simply couldn’t resist;)

    This is what we as teens should truly be rebelling against, (we could call ourselves “The Rebel Alliance,” but that’s taken. However, Rebelutionaries will do;) the low expectations of our sinful, God-rejecting culture.

    Thanks for speaking out on such a nationally delicate subject. Your article isn’t a judgment, but a call to all that is God-honoring, and manly or feminine, within us. I find myself being continually surprised by the depth of perceptiveness, and maturity in your writing. It makes me excited to see what other teens of our generation will rise up and do!

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Haha!

      And thank you *so* much!

  • Jess jesse

    really great stuff there… the other day I held a door for a random lady at a gas station and she smiled and said ‘you have no idea how much that means to me’ talk about making my day!! so I guess from a late teen guy to any girls on here, what are random or not so random things we can do that make you feel like you are valued or that you think is fitting for a gentleman… any ideas would be totally cool

    • Rachel Hatcher

      That’s awesome!
      I think we’d all agree that opening doors shows us honor & respect, and it’s special because not very many guys do that these days.
      Also, if a girl is carrying a heavy load, and it’s obvious she’s struggling with it, it’s always nice when you guys offer to help.
      Being honest and being kind shows respect to girls too. It makes you trustworthy. If a guy lies to a girl, it’s very hurtful and dishonoring, in a way.
      If you watch some of the Jane Austen-type movies, the (good) male characters always treat women well, and they are true gentlemen.

      • I always enjoy watching the interactions between the men and women in those movies.

        • Rachel Hatcher

          Me too! And thank you.

  • Carolyn Taylor

    Amen! This was powerful, Rachel! You don’t read stuff like this everyday, so it is quite refreshing!

    The feminist movement is getting more and more popular, and the ladies who are complaining about men not respecting women enough are the same ones who are breaking them down. I think the problem all goes back to wanting to be noticed and appreciated to the extent where we take it too far and start acting selfishly. If we expected men to act as upright and hardworking gentlemen, then we would need to support them by acting like gracious and encouraging women. It’s sad, really, that so many women feel that they have to prove themselves and succeed at everything.

    Thanks again for writing this, and it was as thought-provoking as usual! Blessings!

  • Beth

    Hmm, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? You do realise that Gawain is almost seduced into an affair with a married woman, and ends up taking her sash as a gift, he later realises he’s been tricked and declares women to be vile and dishonest?
    Still love this post, although I think what you are thinking of as Medieval Chivalry is not really historically accurate. It’s still a lovely “idea”, which I support.

    • Rachel Hatcher

      Yes, I agree. I don’t think that was right or godly in the story. No one was perfect, but I was referring to the code of the chivalry and general respect of women in that time period.

      However, I don’t recall him declaring *women* to be vile and dishonest. It might depend on the version of the book (…?). I read J.R.R. Tokein’s version, and Gawain was declaring the Green Knight to be vile and dishonest. Here’s the excerpt right after the Green Knight confessed that he tricked him: “The other stern knight [Gawain] … stood a long while, in such grief & disgust … all the blood from his breast in his blush mingled … The first words … that he found then to say were, ‘Cursed be ye, Coveting, and Cowardice also! In you [Green Knight] is vileness, and vice that virtue destroyeth …’ ”

      But I see where you’re coming from. Sir Gawain & the Green Knight was perhaps not the best example. In the LOTR trilogy you see the same themes of honor, nobility, purity — better portrayed than Sir Gawain.

  • leinad

    That was really inspiring, thanks. It is so hard sometimes to stand up for those things encase you get ridiculed or embarrassed but thanks that was good.

  • Kate

    I’d like to say, yes I’ll join you! This article is SO true!!! It was kind of convicting for me too, because a lot of the time I’m the girl who’s embarrassed by the guy trying to help me.

    Another thing is (mainly girls, but boys too) Holiness is the most attractive thing you will find in a person, so strive for nothing else! True love waits. True love doesn’t need you to act for it, it loves you the way you are, so be yourself. Although it’s hard, sometimes patience is the key. Wait for true love, it will find you. Trust in Jesus!

    Thanks for this article, lets bring the the knights and ladies from the past back!

  • Jacob Carignan

    Thank You! I’m always upset when Manliness is portrayed as mere brute strength. You’re so right that it is a lot more gentleness, Respectfulness, and generosity, and a lot less about Toughness. So True!!!!

  • Olivia Chambers

    I am so glad that you wrote this post. :) I am happy that woman are able to vote and work as politicians, lawyers, as business people, and so forth. But I am sad that girls thought that they had to become more like men in order to gain that freedom. I believe that woman can still be intelligent and successful while still being feminine. I’m afraid that many have forgotten that though. I also have noticed that woman are not excepting kind gestures from men because they want to prove how strong they are. Of course men know that women are capable of opening doors and carrying their bag but they are just trying to be kind and gentlemanly. I will take a stand with you to become and encourage others to become true men and women of God. :)

  • Gabrielle S.

    Of course I’ll join in!!! I’ve always loved reading/writing the whole knight-slays-dragon-and-rescues-beautiful-princess stories because everything seems so much more graceful and and heroic than writing about life in modern society. I’d love to see the good stuff of that age make a comeback!

    Have you heard of the movie “Old Fashioned” that’s coming out soon, @rachelhatcher:disqus ? It’s promoting exactly what you said. I can’t wait to see it!

  • BeautifulPrincess

    Yes, I wondered the same thing – what on earth happened to the chivalry?
    I’m blessed with wonderful brothers who will often open the door or seat me at the table, but I have often wondered where all the chivalry has gone in our culture.
    It makes me feel so thankful when I am walking through a doorway with something in my hands and a guy quietly opens the door and steps back for me to pass. I don’t mean with a grand flourish, I mean quietly, like they’ve noticed that I’m going to have to put down everything, open the door, pick all my stuff up again and keep going. It just makes it SO much easier!
    Also, it makes me feel like a lady.
    And guys out there, I want to tell you that when you honestly treat us like ladies, we’ll mostly act like ladies.
    The other thing I have noticed is that some young guys seem forget that there are older ladies as well. They always really appreciate a young man who helps them. Actually, they are often need more help than us younger girls. Not only will they be very thankful, they will also very likely to give you a good character. Imagine if someone asks them which young man they would recommend for a job… you get a good character. And what if they don’t know Jesus? Then you can be a witness!

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