It has been a real pleasure to read Heather Haupt's book Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys. I'll be telling you all about it this week, as well as all the ideas I have swimming around in my head for training my own valiant knights! In the meantime, I thought you'd like to learn a bit about Heather and what inspired her to write this wonderful book.
What inspired you to write Knights in Training?
Coming up with the idea for knight training was birthed out of a desire to be intentional in raising my boys. When I saw that their love for everything battle meshed well with my discover that chivalry was far more than how a man treats a woman. I knew I wanted to embark on a season of knight training and pursuing living by this code that for the knight’s of old was an entire way of living. Little did I realize that embarking on this initial season of knight training would alter the way we viewed our role as parents and forever shape the way my boys viewed these years of childhood. I wrote the book to really flesh out what it can look like to celebrate boys for who they are and cast a vision for a life of adventure embodying the spirit of a modern-day knight. Boys are getting a bad rap these days. Part of that stems from how we approach educating boys as well as a lack of understanding and appreciation for what makes them unique. Our world needs good men and my aim with this book is to strengthen the resolve and equip parents to reach their boys by appreciating who they are and how they are wired as well as inspire them to become the men they are meant to become.
What was your main goal in writing Knights in Training?
I wrote Knights in Training to help parents tap into the heart of their boys and utilize a boy’s inner dreams and drives to propel them into a future of meaning and purpose. We all love our kids and want to be purposeful during this season of childhood – enjoying the little moments as well as preparing them to succeed in life, but sometimes in the busyness of life we lose sight of HOW to make that happen. My goal here is to provide a common language and a roadmap for this exciting journey of boyhood so that one boy and one family at a time, we can restore civility and courageous compassion to our communities.
Which part of researching Knights in Training was the most personally interesting to you?
I’m a history buff, so delving into some of the primary documents and really discovering how this idea of chivalry took shape and force during the middle ages was fascinating to me. Delving into the past also reminded me that there is nothing new under the sun. We see the same challenges with human nature, our bent to wander from the Lord, from the right path as well as the importance of inspiration and ideals in captivating our imagination and calling us back to the way we ought to go. When we step into the past, we discover that young men in the middle ages struggled with choosing the easy path, that younger sons in the nobility lost sight of their purpose and meaning and were tempted to take the easy path of living a life of listlessness and apathy and yet how deep down they all wanted to find purpose and meaning.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging about writing this book?
The entire process… It was a daily mental challenge to stay the course, to pray through my doubts, and hold strong. There is so much that burned inside of me to share and figuring out the most effective way to communicate that was a challenge. I walked a lot during the writing phase to wrestle through how to effectively convey everything that I wanted to include in the book.
Did you always have a talent for writing, or is it something you wanted and needed to work hard to achieve?
“Writer” was not on my short list of things I wanted to do with my life. I write not because I love writing, but because I have important things that burn deep in my heart and mind that simply must be written. Childhood is fleeting and I write to remind parents to make the most of this short yet full season. As parents, we have a profound opportunity to shape the culture of our home and inspire our children to embrace important values that will serve them for the rest of their lives!
Writing does not come easy to me. I never dreamed of being a writer as a child. In fact, I hated writing growing up, but my mom refused to give up on me. She kept pushing me and finding new and creative ways to try to get me to write. While the actual process of writing was painful, I have always had a heart to communicate and weave an engaging story. I was just a late bloomer and having that love for storytelling and communicating meld with the act of writing did not take place until my college years. And then my mom and I marveled when I wrote for a living before having children. I’ve found that I can never write just to write. I must be really passionate about what I am communicating. Once I’ve tapped into passion and purpose, I’m set. Maybe that is why it is so important to me that I connect my kids to their own passions and purpose in life!
What are you reading right now? What authors (living or dead) have influenced you most?
As a family, we recently listened to the entire unabridged Chronicles of Narnia. I was blown away anew about the power of narrative to communicate important messages, to inspire our moral imagination and bring out the desire to live full out for everything God has for us. So yes, I’m a C.S. Lewis fan. I also love reading science related books. Dr. Leonard Sax has written so much on gender and boys specifically. His writing has really helped me embrace everything that makes my boys uniquely boy!
What writer(s) have had the greatest influence on you?
I love to read many different genre’s and types of books. So here is an eclectic list of three authors who have influenced my writing and appreciation for life.
- CS Lewis – I love how C.S. Lewis uses the magic of story to communicate profound truths in a way that inspires others to embrace these truths without even realizing it. Story is powerful and through literature we can change the world.
- Ann Voskamp – While we have very different writing styles, I love how she weaves word and inspires others to make a difference in their homes, in their community and in the world. Her writing has given a voice to my longing to live a transparent and consistent life in front of my children and my community that reflects my core beliefs and values.
- Leonard Sax – While I love to be inspired, I also want to know the facts. What does the research say and how can I think rationally about how to live my life. Dr. Leonard Sax’s writings have met that need to think about things rationally and changed the way I view and appreciate my boys.
What was your favorite book as a child?
The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher. I love books about fighting impossible odds against impossible foes because they convey that ordinary people have profound purpose and need to rise to the call when the situation arises. The Tripod Trilogy had that in spades. It is a book set in a futuristic setting where “tripods” have come to rule and humanity is decimated. To keep people docile, they are capped at 13 to prevent them from thinking for themselves. This trilogy follows several kids as they flee the impending capping ceremony and find themselves caught up in a fight to free humanity from world-wide slavery. As a kid, I was inspired to think for myself and be ready to right for all that was good, right, and true.
How did you get your start in writing/getting published?
It started with blogging. I cringe when I look back at my first blog posts. You really do improve the more you write and I’m grateful for the years of tapping out blog posts and delving into writing about things I was passionate about and looking for ways to winsomely communicate my perspectives on parenting and child development.
My first book was birthed out of a blog post on how movement wires the brain to learn and the importance of taking brain breaks. I went the self-publishing route with that, starting with an ebook and then taking it to print myself. During this season, I started writing more for magazines as opportunities cropped up.
Then my health collapsed and I did little else aside from being a wife, mom and home educator (which in itself is a very full life), until God revealed that He had other plans for our family in this new book, Knights in Training.
This book was birthed from a blogpost that I wrote in the Spring of 2011. We were delving into the middle ages and I figured we’d delve into chivalry too. When I discovered that chivalry was more than merely how a man treats a woman, but was rather an entire code of conduct, a way of living – I was inspired to delve into the character development aspects that “knight training” could afford. I printed off these 10 aspects from the code of chivalry in a cool font and decided to blog about our adventure and provide a free printable for any other parents that wanted to delve into knight training too.
A reporter from the New York Times contacted me. She was writing an article on teaching manners and wanted to interview me about that post I had written years earlier on our chivalry challenge. I’ve done my share of media interviews, so I didn’t really think much about it. The day before we left for Arizona for the holidays, the reporter emailed me to inform me the article was live online that day and would come out in print the following day in the Times. When I hopped online to read the article, I noticed the hyperlink to my blog and frantically set about to freshen up that old blog post so people coming over could find it. I flung it out there the following morning before grabbing my keys and setting off on our 15 hour drive to AZ.
Like any blogger, I enjoyed my 15 minutes of “fame” as traffic exploded for a few days and then forgot about it as we enjoyed time with family and friends until a few days later when I received a strange email in my inbox. Long story, short – an editor from Penguin Random House reached out to me about writing a book. After prayer, my family and I decided to make the leap, as my mind swirled with the possibilities and the vision for the book really took root! So all in a year’s time, I found a wonderful book agent, wrote my first book proposal, finished up our homeschool “year” and speaking commitments before settling down that summer to write in the margins of life.
Knights in Training was birthed out of that effort!
What else do you want readers to know? Consider your likes and dislikes, interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to relax — whatever comes to mind.
Thank you so much, Heather, for writing Knights in Training and inspiring me.I love watching kids at play. It fascinates and delights me at a very deep level. I’m always in awe at how they work out the process of growing up, of being brave, and of becoming through their pretend play. I love to unwind by taking hikes with my family and sitting back and watching them. My favorite time of year is when we all escape to a cabin for a week to play games, explore, unplug and reconnect as a family! In a constantly plugged in world, I love these opportunities to step away from the craziness and just ‘be’ with the people I love most.
Heather Haupt is the mother of three knights-in-training and a spunky little princess. She wants to be intentional during these years of parenting and raise children who will make a difference in this world. Heather is an educator, writer, and popular speaker. Recognizing the brevity of childhood and the power of a parent’s influence, she encourages and equips parents towards intentional parenting, pursuing God, and delighting in the adventure of learning. She is the author of Knights-in-Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys as well as The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. She writes at www.heatherhaupt.com.