A Foundation in Truth

I saw a great many castles while traveling through Europe during my youth and one in particular caught my fancy. Pictured above, the Neuschwanstein castle (“New Swan Rock”) is a magical edifice built upon Swan Rock, a massive stone outcropping overlooking Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwestern Bavaria. A powerful symbol for a life built upon a foundation of truth, Neuschwanstein is also incidentally the original model of the castle that has captured the imagination of generations of children, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

On that note and on this, my 600th consecutive daily post, I am privileged to share with you helpful words of instruction from Mr. William George Jordan on the matter of raising children:

Truth is the straight line in morals. It is the shortest distance between a fact and the expression of it. The foundations of truth should ever be laid in childhood. It is then that parents should instill into the young mind the instant, automatic turning to truth, making it the constant atmosphere of the mind and life. Let the child know that ‘Truth above all things’ should be the motto of its life. Parents make a great mistake when they look upon a lie as a disease in morals; it is not always a disease in itself, it is but a symptom. Behind every untruth is some reason, some cause, and it is this cause that should be removed. The lie may be the result of fear, the attempt to cover a fault and to escape punishment; it may be merely the evidence of an over-active imagination; it may reveal maliciousness or obstinacy; it may be the hunger for praise that leads the child to win attention and to startle others by wonderful stories; it may be merely carelessness in speech, the reckless use of words; it may be acquisitiveness that makes lying the handmaid of theft. But if, in the life of the child or the adult, the symptom be made to reveal the disease, and that be then treated, truth reasserts itself and the moral health is restored.

Constantly telling a child not to lie is giving life and intensity to ‘the lie.’ The true method is to quicken the moral muscles from the positive side, urge the child to be honest, to be faithful, to be loyal, and to be fearless to the truth. Tell him ever of the nobility of courage to speak the true, to live the right, to hold fast to principles of honor in every trifle—then he need never fear to face any of life’s crises.

The parent must live truth or the child will not live it. The child will startle you with its quickness in puncturing the bubble of your pretended knowledge; in instinctively piercing the heart of a sophistry without being conscious of process; in relentlessly enumerating your unfulfilled promises; in detecting with the justice of a court of equity a technicality of speech that is virtually a lie. He will justify his own lapses from truth by appeal to some white lie told to a visitor, and unknown to be overheard by the little one, whose mental powers we ever underestimate in theory though we may over-praise in words.

Teach the child in a thousand ways, directly and indirectly, the power of truth, the beauty of truth, and the sweetness and rest of companionship with truth.

And if it be the rock-foundation of the child character, as a fact, not as a theory, the future of that child is as fully assured as it is possible for human prevision to guarantee.

As I’ve mentioned before it is much easier to carry on about what’s wrong than it is to articulate what is right, especially in an inspiring way. It has been my aim in this blog to share my perspective on the truth in as many ways as possible. The truth is marvelous and majestic, beautiful beyond words. Its principles and laws are impervious to human tinkering and any attempt to bend it in one’s favor is cast away like water off a duck’s back.

Human beings have long satisfied themselves with the temporary appearance of having circumvented the truth. They treat the truth as something that can be bartered, something external to themselves like a magic trinket. They turn to it as a measure of last resort, rather than resting their head upon its bosom all the days of their lives. Well, the truth is that such an approach is destined to implode once sufficient weight and pressure are placed upon its faulty foundation.

No matter how impressive, elaborate or seemingly “too large to fail” humanly-devised substitutes to the truth have been at any point in history – great religious and secular institutions, vast libraries of knowledge, ingenious systems of governance, long-standing dynasties and the like – the truth remains unchanged, untarnished by time and always available to be known. The veil which sits between knowing of it and actually knowing it varies in thickness depending on the level of consciousness of mankind and despite the appearance of progress on the surface, the most apparently advanced civilizations on the surface are often the farthest from the truth.

Enough about humanity. What about you?

Are you too enamored with all the world has to offer to fall in love with the truth? Are you too busy to bother yourself with the pursuit of truth? Are you too impressed by that which has usurped the seat of authority of truth to have faith in the power and importance of truth in your life? Are you too tired from making a name for yourself, leaving your mark or landing the “big one” to work for the truth in every detail of your living?

If you are concerned about the future, and I venture to say that you are, take the time necessary to get to know the truth and the right course of the future will be assured. Love it. Pursue it. Have faith in it. Make it your life’s work, regardless of your profession or occupation.
Nota bene: like Prince Phillip in the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, it is not enough to have the sword (of truth) in your hand; you must throw it at the heart of the dragon for the truth to prevail through your living. You can overcome maleficence in your life, but only when you are armed with the truth. The truth is present within you and you have the right, nay, the obligation to let the truth be known through your radiant living.
So let it be.

16 thoughts on “A Foundation in Truth

  • Wlliam Jordans observation of children particularly this comment, “whose mental powers we ever underestimate in theory though we may over-praise in words.” I am constantly surprised at the seeming innocuous remarks or behavoirs that children will pick up and mimic. Raising children should make us better people as we must be vigilant about our attitudes, words and actions, making certain to give our children the best template for living. They will copy us. They do reflect what they have studdied in the moments we were just “being ourselves”. Let your higher self reign and they have a better chance to do the same.
    Thanks for 600 days of moving onward and upward!

  • Thank you Gregg for writing this. That’s one thing I have to say about this most prized ‘possession’, which in all the treasures to be sought in life, this one is available to all independent of geography or social strata. There are ‘a thousand ways’ (and then some!) that truth can be known and it’s not dependent on degrees of education, class or fervor of religious zeal. It is there for the humble in heart to see and the noble in heart to express. If it is a matter of the heart first, then the truth must occupy the center of your love capacity for it to take complete governance of your soul and thus to change your life forever. You let the chips fall as they may at that point, as you let the truth of your living organize the events around you. The exciting thing that you see happen is that still you are actively making decisions, but there is now a very clear moral compass in your hands to navigate through the dynamic landscape of living and you feel much more safely oriented in contrast to prior experience. I can give a thousand examples myself – headaches/heartaches that could have easily been prevented.
    The Truth is well known to bring order out of chaos, in all fields of our function and beyond. Indeed, so let it be!

  • Your posts featuring excerpts from William George Jordan are among my favorites. His works are a gift that needed some press in this day and age.

  • It seems like just yesterday we were saying congrats on 500 posts. 100 more days of worthwhile meditation – thank you! D & M

  • I don’t make it a point to comment every time I read but wanted to let you know I enjoy the daily posts and archives, and have shared some points here and there with my colleagues that have proved helpful. Really enjoyed the insight on your business culture in Sunday’s post “What am I?”

  • 600 days! Been there since the beginning, yours is my first read in the morning. It fuels my love of critical thinking about how I can set forth and make a difference each day. Thanks!!

  • The majestic gleam of Truth shines consistenty through the words of this blog, and I’m sure many are blessed by its steady beacon, Gregg!

    People have lusted for the fruits of truth in many ways, simply because all beauty, all genuine power, all capability are products of truth in one way or another. But to lust after the truth itself has been so very rare, because while most would wish to possess the products, they shrink from being possessed themselves, and tend to choose slavery to the world, to their own desires, fears and ambitions, over the dominion of truth.

    Prince Philip (of Sleeping Beauty fame) found that, to slay the dragon, he had to release his grip on the sword of truth so that it could be expressed, flying surely to its mark and dissolving the beastly illusion that had seemed so great and all-encompassing. A worthwhile analogy for the situation we all face today!

  • “Truth above all things” can be the motto of our lives no matter what has been instilled in us up to this point. This post is an excellent resource for anyone on how to handle and encourage children, each other, and themselves. You brought it right home for me on 600!

  • Thank you Gregg, your dedication to noble inspiration and the truth in your blog is much appreciated and enjoyed by this reader!

  • This post grips at the heart of what it means to live a life of truth. Falling in love is the right emotion to express what it really feels like when the truth is at harmony within you, and what it feels like to live a life where you are more concerned about your own standing with the truth than with anyone else’s. Being more concerned with how you measure up to the mark of the truth than how anyone else does is the difference between being a true man or woman and being a hypocrite. As Jordan said, the best way to help others to the truth is by the positive example. Both adults and children can smell a hypocrite a mile away, and the love of the truth cannot be taught by a hypocrite. It must be taught by someone who walks the walk, and I appreciate these six hundred posts that show us ways to do that.

  • This means 600 straight mornings of waking up and being inspired by your words Gregg.
    Thank you and please know that the seeds that you plant daily not only find a home and place to reside but actually spring from these pages into my heart and then into my living.

  • Thanks for your powerful work. I’ve been reading for a while now and look forward to what you have to say each day. Your posts using William George Jordan’s work is brilliant… 600! I’m going to start reading your archived posts. Congratulations!

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