All In A Knight’s Work

A couple of years ago I dragged my toddler and preschooler to Philadelphia for a conference. (Sorry other people on the plane… it seemed like a good idea at the time.) Their father came, too, and spent the hours that I was attending conferences visiting the plethora of fantastic museums and parks with the kids.

We told the kids that the hotel we were staying was actually a tower in a castle and the doorman in his tails and top hat was the king and the maid on our floor was the queen. They loved, loved, loved it! My son learned to bow and my daughter learned how to curtsy.

On the last day, we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art together. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. There is a section of swords and armor and my son, being into knights and dragons and pirates, was sent into the throes of a very vocal fit of sheer ecstasy.

“MOMMY!!!!! They have knights!!!!!”


“No, MOMMY! They even have armor for the horses!!!!!”

“Wow. Use your indoor voice, please.”

“But, MOMMY! Look at all of the swords!!!” Not using an indoor voice.


It did not take long until a docent was approaching. I cringed.

“So, you like knights, huh?” He asked my son, crouching down to his level.

My son nodded silently.

“Would you like to be a knight?”

Another silent nod.

He had the kiddo kneel in front of a suit of armor, pulled out a ball point pin, and proceeded to have him repeat the oath:

“Do you solemnly swear to do your duty and to protect the innocent, showing love and kindness to everyone?”

Solemn head nod.

“No. Say, ‘I do!’ You’ve gotta say it.”

“I do….”

“Do you promise to always obey your mom and dad and grandmother and grandfather?”

Another solemn head nod.

“Say, ‘I do!'”

“I do….”

The docent touched him on each shoulder and on the crown of his head with the make-shift sword.

“Then rise, Sir _____, of the house of ______! You are now a knight.”

Beaming, my son rose from his knee. He was a real live knight staying in a castle! He was living the dream and his behavior was impeccable the rest of the day.

The docent knew nothing about us, except that I had a loud, overly excited kid but his act of kindness brought history alive and made a kid (and his parents) feel super special.

So, to that man, and all of other fabulous people who take extra time to show kindness to other human beings….

Thank you!!!


62 thoughts on “All In A Knight’s Work

  1. Oh, I love this story. Chivalry is not dear!

    Jacob as six when we moved to Switzeerland. We saw a lot of armor and a lot of castles — a tour guide even let him be the castle ghost once, hiding and scaring the other visitors. Wonderful stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was a boy, one of my favorite museums was a small private museum on the south side of Chicago. The house looked like a castle—turrets and crenelated roof line. It had a collection of arms and armor, and a collection of early keyboard instruments. I loved both collections.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think I ever knew the name of the museum, but the location is right and the photos of the Harding Castle look right. Sadly, the musical instruments were auctioned off decades ago (sadly because today I’d be most interested in them). I don’t remember old masters or Lincoln’s favorite chaise, but then I was probably not over 15 the last time I was there, and I wouldn’t have been interested. Sounds like you might be able to take your son to see the armor as early as 2017 at the Art Institute.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The only thing that didn’t seem to fit is that I remember the castle in a neighborhood, not on the edge of neighborhood overlooking the tracks. But, Lake Park was relocated, so maybe that’s ok. Thanks for starting the research. I’ve always wondered what happened to the collections.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so jealous. I take my five year old to the zoo and all she does when seeing the orangutans from the back is scream “Mommy, they have the biggest hemorrhoids!!” Over and over again.

    No more letting Endoscopy friends watch her for the evening.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That guy should be the international ambassador for all docents. I’m a volunteer tour guide at a LI historical site, and sometimes you wait for people to come in just so you can share your knowledge (that you are excited about) with them. It’s people like him, who keep places running otherwise who would want to go see a moldy old building or museum! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great experience. Have to be honest here…I had to google the word “docent”…am I the only one ??? And I live near Philadelphia. He was indeed a rare one…and a knight in the shiniest kind of armor. You were lucky to have crossed paths.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: My Article Read (12-31-2014) (1-1-2015) (1-2-2015 | My Daily Musing

  7. You’re welcome. LoL. This reminds me of how my dad would react to your son, if he were in this situation and witnessing his interest for a particular item in the museum.

    I could imagine the sense of wonder your son experienced after completing his oath. That was truly an awesome thing for this stranger to do. He could have done so many other things in this scenario, but he chose an act of kindness instead. The stories involving kind acts from strangers provide a sense of hope for me, in the face of such madness within humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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