I am frequently asked if the stories in my books are 'true,' meaning are they 'accurate.' And I always say there is a difference between 'true' and 'truth.' 'True' where a study of people is concerned is a really hard thing to come by. You can get a few facts right, like date and place of birth, but much of the rest is interpretive.
Our efforts towards 'true'--i.e., documentation, citations, evidence, original source--do not belong in childhood in my opinion, and I believe it has weakened us as a people in some ways. We have lost our vision of greatness and as Alfred North Whitehead wrote: "Moral education is impossible apart from the habitual vision of greatness."
The author of 'In Search of Heroes' wrote: "...irreverence, skepticism and mockery permeate the culture to such a degree that it is difficult for young people to have heroes and presenting reality in the classroom is an empty, education goal it if produces disillusioned, dispirited students."
...which I see happening.
So are all the stories in my books 'true?' I can't verify that. I do know the authors of these books were scholars. They did their homework. Even they acknowledge that much had to be filled in from their 'imagination,' but they were clear in their intentions--to build noble and virtuous human beings.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Go with mean people and you think life is mean...with the great, our thoughts and manners easily become great."
I'm trying to give your children some really 'great' souls to hang out with. The 'facts' of their lives can come later when they are mature enough to measure it all in proper balance.
"If anybody would make me the greatest king that ever lived on condition that I would not read books, I would not be a king. I would rather be a poor man in a garret with plenty of books than a king who did not love reading."
I avoid politics in this group, but I do have a plan for a course correction:
"Educate the women and the men will be educated. Let the ladies understand the great doctrine of seeking the greatest good, of loving their neighbors as themselves, let them indoctrinate their children in this fundamental truth, and we shall have wise legislators."
I was just thinking of something. Although my kids are all grown with homes of their own, I'm still a mom. Lately, several of them have had really hard challenges come their way, most of it through no fault of their own. Of course, we want everything to be OK. I hurt for them and try to offer words of encouragement and help as I can.
But here's the deal. Life is messy. It's designed to be that way because that's how humans grow. We have to learn to sort and prioritize and adapt and endure and overcome. To learn joy in the journey. It's a never ending process.
And I thought of comments so many of you have made where you feel so out of control--that you dream of that moment when everything aligns and runs smoothly. But life keeps happening and interferes with your carefully made plans.
I remember a card I got from a friend once that said on the cover, "Let's get together when life gets back to normal." And inside it said, "But what if this is normal?"
And that's the point of this post--if you are constantly working to achieve that home where everything is perfectly in place and every day goes just as scheduled, is that real life?
My experience says absolutely not.
So learning to go with the flow and the challenges and the disruptions and the changes of plans may be the very best preparation for life you can give your children! Much more so than the perfectly ordered and clockwork home you may feel so guilty that you are unable to achieve.
Just my 2 cents.
Art credit: A Happy Family by Giovanni Battista Torriglia (artrenewal.org)