“Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system... They ought to practice leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man’s career with cool, cautious self-possession...” —R. M. Ballantyne
The above quote would shock the modern man a great deal, today few would care to leap take any great risks, and if they did they would most likely do so with a thought only for the fun and adrenalin involved, rather than the training it would give them.
Eight hundred years ago, in the great stone castles of the knights of Christendom, lived young boys who were dubbed pages. There job it was to hold the horses, clean the armor, cook the food, and, in all things, serve the master. It would have been at all times difficult, especially on the field of battle with the knights, with arrows flying and fires blazing, knights charging and swords clashing; none of the glory is yours, only the trouble, and yet, besides all of the tasks that these young men did; there was training, much training. Around the fires there were tales of battles, and the reasons why they were lost, and during the day there was horse riding, fights with swords and bill, lance and shield, until one day the the time would come when the page, who had come to the knight when he was a seven year-old boy, would be knighted, and would be a man. The change never would have happened without the most rigorous training. From the page comes the knight, from the boy comes the man, all that lies between is training.
Through His Strength We Will Conquer,
Andrew C. Abbott