An Ancient Code

Drew - Waynesboro, Virginia
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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An Ancient Code

My morality is based off of the ancient creed of chivalry. Chivalry used to be code of conduct that medieval knights followed. Chivalry was created to give the knights guidelines on how to live and moral and selfless life. This was all in theory of course, while most knights at least tried to adhere to chivalry, many also completely disregarded it. Despite the romanticized notion of knights, knights were like everyday people; capable of extraordinary good or extraordinary evil. No matter or ineffective or outdated chivalry might be, it is what I have chosen to live by.

It all started when I was quite young, maybe 4 or 5. To say the least, I grew up in a tumultuous environment. My father was a confused man. He would get into anger fits and beat the closest thing at hand, usually my mother but in some rare cases my sister or myself, then turn around tell us how much he needed us. I grew up with my father going into rages on a weekly basis, it happened for so long that I became used to it. It wasn’t until I was about 13 when I found out that not all fathers are like that. My friend’s dad was one of the nicest men I had ever met. And when I came back home I realized that my family situation was far from the norm.

It was a moment of revelation for me. I had to come to terms that own father, my own flesh and blood, was a sick and violent man, a man that had done his fair share of evil deeds. It was hard to take. Suddenly my father had become the enemy overnight. But, coincidently, at around that time my mother found an this creed on the web and gave it to me. All my mixed up emotions settled. After reading about chivalry and its tenets, it began to give me hope. For over a year I tried to find myself and how chivalry would fit into life. But, my commitment to chivalry would be pushed as far as it could.

When I was 15, my mom, sister, and I were all playing badminton in the backyard and it was like every other day. It started to get dark and the bugs came out when we realized that the tiki torches weren’t up. It turned out that my father was “working” on them and had put them in the shed. My mother and sister thought the torches would be good enough to play with anyways and went to get them. As soon as they got the torches out of the shed, my father erupted like a mad manout of the house. From experience, I immediately knew that this was going to be bad. My sister had just put up a tiki torch by the time my father got to where we were and he charged straight for her. My sister had been the most defiant of my father’s tyrannical rule and she had earned most of his ire. So as soon as my father reached her, he smacked her hard across the face. That immediately set my mother into motion while I was frozen in fear.

My father is a large and powerfully built man I had been terrified of him most of my life. But as I saw my mother and sister in a fruitless climactic struggle, I knew I had to do something. I stepped in between my sister and father which stopped the fight entirely. My father had always considered me his favorite since I never had the courage to do something until then. I think I made most knights proud. I showed most of the traits expected of a knight: loyalty, defense, courage, and justice.

To this day I am glad I stepped in because it lead to my father’s forced removal from the house. I know it isn’t as heroic as many other stories but it was still a defining moment in my life. Chivalry made me who I am. Chivalry made me a knight.