In Coaching for Inner Peace, I love sharing stories that uplift, inspire and heal. Being a mom, and with my background as a pediatrician, I also love finding stories that can be shared with the children and young adults in our lives.
Robert Fisher’s The Knight in Rusty Armor is such a book that can be enjoyed by children in the 8 to 12-year age range (Grade Level 3 to 7) as well as by adults of any age. ?
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In this story, we meet a knight who does all the things a good, kind and loving knight ought to do- like conquering evil foes, rescuing damsels in distress and slaying dragons. Throughout his kingdom, in addition to his heroic deeds, he is famous for his shiny armor that reflects beautiful, bright rays of the sunrise and sunset.
For years, the knight strives to be the number one knight. Soon, he is busy either performing heroic deeds or then talking about those deeds. ? And in his spare time, the knight loves trying on his armor and admiring its brilliance. In fact, he becomes so enamored of his armor that he begins to wear it to dinner and even to bed. Eventually, he wears it all the time and his family slowly forgets what he looks like without it.
One day, his wife confronts him. “I think you love your armor more than you love me.”
His wife threatens to take their young son and leave him, if he does not remove the armor. Grudgingly, the knight concedes, only to discover that he has worn the armor so long that he cannot take it off. The helmet and armor simply will not budge! No one in the castle can help him either with this most unusual predicament.
In the rest of the book, we accompany the knight as he searches for a way to free himself of this self-imposed armor that now has become his prison. To set himself free, the knight will have to walk the path of truth, and discover his true self- that he has forgotten and buried underneath all the armor. He soon realizes that this path of self-discovery requires even more courage, will and strength than slaying any dragon or fighting any external foe.
In the knight’s search for freedom from his armor, we can easily see parallels in our lives.
How often do we wear ‘masks’ or ‘personas’ at work or in our family that conceal our true, authentic self from others? How often do we feel compelled to play these roles from a sense of lack – a need to prove our value and worth? Can we see how our children at a younger and younger age are facing the same challenges?
Can we see that no matter how much we ‘do’ or ‘achieve’ – this can never really give us an inner sense of completeness? Like the knight, we also find that somehow there is always another foe to defeat, another damsel to rescue, another dragon to slay.
When does it end? How much is enough?
What if we give ourselves permission to just pause? To just be still. Even for a moment here and there. What would we find? What would that even feel like?
In my personal and coaching experience, if we have been busy ‘doing’ to prove our worth and value, stopping and taking of the ‘persona’ can be scary. There can be sadness, anger, even a sense of confusion where we feel lost and disoriented.
What are we without this ‘armor’? Who are we without the ‘roles’ we play?
The knight faces all of this inner upheaval yet he stays true to his purpose- of healing, and of self-discovery. He meets many mighty companions along the way that support and guide him. And eventually he finds himself- his true self- an amazing treasure of Light and Love that is more beautiful and shiny than any metal armor, than even the sun or the moon. The knight discovers his inner perfection- that place where he is already full, whole and complete. Nothing lacking, nothing to fix, nothing to prove.
Imagine that freedom- where you have nothing to prove. What would that feel like?
What if we allowed ourselves and our children to meet life from a sense of fullness and completeness- instead of ‘doing’ and ‘achieving’ from a sense of lack?
What would that be like? What would our world be like?
I invite you to pause and reflect.
The Knight in Rusty Armor is an easy and entertaining read. In the span of 74 short pages, there is deep, profound wisdom- shared in simple language and with lots of humor. ?
Happy reading and happy self-discovery! ?