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I Dub Thee…

We knight each other in this house.

I’m not really sure when it started, but I love it.

The other day, as I was getting everybody out of the car I said to Madeline,

“Please close the van door and go hang your book-bag up on its hook.  You’ll be Madeline the Helpful.”

Her response was more than I could have hoped for.  She perked up and proclaimed,

Yes!  I am Madeline the Helpful!
And Madeline the Door-Closer!
And Madeline the In-a-New-Van-er.
Madeline the Tough!
Madeline the Fun!
Madeline the Useful!
Madeline the Curious!
Madeline the Bird-watcher!
Madeline the Chick-Fil-A-Eater!
Madeline the School-goer!
Madeline the Learn about God-er!
Madeline the Sam-dimpler!
Madeline the Music-lover!
And Madeline the GROWER!”

(I grabbed a scrap of paper and jotted down as many as I could, but I couldn’t write shorthand as fast as she was prattling away.  I think my favorite is Madeline the Sam-dimpler; she delights in making her brother show off his dimple.)

It’s a sweet, playful way to celebrate the best in each other.  But I’ve also found that it adds a shade of nobility, officiality, if you will.  It says more than “you helped;” it says, “you are helpful.

Dan and I are not a “schmoopsy-poo, honey-bear” kind of couple.  I’ve never even referred to him as “hubs,”or “hubby.”  But there is one particular term of endearment he uses that makes my heart want to explode with love for him.

Every time I call him on the phone, my picture appears with the name,

“Kathryn the Brave”

He dubbed me thus during the first year of our marriage.  I was pregnant with my first surprise baby, surrounded by cardboard boxes filled with all our earthly possessions, having just moved into a tiny apartment in a new state where Dan was literally the only person I knew.  Not long after that we found out that our beautiful surprise baby girl was blind.  It was a big year.  A tough year.

There were so many days that I thought, “I just want someone to recognize that what I’m doing is hard.  I just want someone to tell me I’m brave.”  When things were really scary and unknown and new and mostly dark, Dan saw bravery in me, and he dubbed me.  Kathryn the Brave.

I still want to cultivate a strong, quiet bravery in my life.  A spirit that, when confronted with something hard or daunting, takes a deep breath and presses on.  I want to have the courage to be kind, the courage to forgive, the courage to be patient, the courage to trust, the courage to just. keep. going.

I don’t know who in your life needs knighting – a child who needs to be “My Child the Helpful;” a spouse who needs to be “My Husband the Faithful” or “My Wife the Gracious;” or maybe it’s “My Mother the Wise” or “My Friend the Kind” – but whoever it is, I encourage you to knight somebody today.

It’s sweet and playful and memorable; and it might just bring out the best in them.


  • Cindy Warren

    …and brave you are Kate Conner ;-)

  • Sarah Harmony-Powell

    Awesome post Kate- love this!

  • Vendela

    Wow! I’m speechless…u are brave, u make my heart smile

  • Amanda Rempe

    Um Kate the amazing!!! I love reading your posts! Will definitely be playing this game!

  • Erica

    Gosh, Now you got me crying! You already have the spirit you’re wanting to cultivate though :)

  • Tammy Riggs Linsky

    As always….. you have inspired…. love your post

  • Denise Griffin

    Amesome, thanks for sharing! Made me shed a tear too, I have shared those same
    feelings when we were taking the long walk of the unknown with our son.

  • Ashley Ellen Wilson

    Oh what a fabulous idea! I love this–and I’m going to take your challenge–I’ll be knighting my friends today!

  • joyce courtney

    I had knighted my chicken, “Lois the Lighthearted!” But now I will bring this into my family as well, “Kate the Inspirer!” ( To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence) :)

  • Maddie

    This is fantastic! what a great way to recognize people! You are Kate the Innovative!

  • Angela Levesque Murray

    I love this! Today is my 3rd anniversary and I’m going to use this idea as part of my gift.

  • Mattie Tiegreen

    Have I ever told you how awesome you are? I love this. You are brave, indeed. Very, very brave. Loved reading this. And SO needed it today as I read it during my planning period.

  • Annie

    I love it Kate! I think that I will be using this with my kids. And husband. I am always looking for new ways to affirm my kids, especially, and this is a great way!

  • Laura Beth Dennis

    I loved this post! What a cute, inspiring idea!

  • Andrea

    “Madeline the In-a-New-Van-er” -haha, Love that! :-D
    Awesome post. Reading about “Kathryn the Brave” almost makes MY heart burst with love for your husband [too]…! {sigh} so wonderful~

  • Sara

    Thank you for this. When I read this post it struck me as insanely simple. Surely encouraging MY kids wouldn’t be this straight-forward and easy. So I gave it a go. Out of the blue I dubbed my 5 yr old “… the Helpful.” He absolutely glowed. His siblings asked why I did that. I told them because he was always helpful and I appreciated that about him. “Well, what am I?” So they all got names. Even my 10 yr old shyly asked what his name would be. And amazingly enough, no one argued or fought over one name being better than the other or wanting to be called something different. I thought, you’re kidding right? All the times I’ve told you I’m proud, went on at length about the good choices you’ve made, the things I like about you, complimenting you in front of other people… and something this fun and easy makes you glow? They just sat there and reveled in their new names. All were happy and love tanks were filled. So thank you. Thank you for giving me a tool to encourage my kids and not just their behavior – my son isn’t just acting in a helpful way right now, he IS helpful. And thank you for reminding me that encouragement can be a sweet, simple gift.

    And BTW, your husband seems like a wonderful man.

  • Paige

    Love this

  • shelby@honeysuckle

    I love everything about this. And Madeline the Sam-dimpler made me smile from ear to ear. I will certainly be knighting people in my life. :)

  • Kelly Griffin

    You are brave! I loved this post. Nice job, Dan.

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