"Truth is within ourselves: it takes no rise From outward things, whate'er you may believe: There is an inmost centre in us all Where truth abides in fulness."
To this end, then, cultivate imagination in the mind of a child, in such a way as to direct its imaging power into the most beautiful channels. Impress the mind of the child with the thought that his ideals take form in his mind, and help to shape his life and the things he does in life. Explain to him how a painter makes his beautiful pictures; that first of all he has a canvas and paints of different colours, and if he is painting a landscape, with the use of his eyes and mind, he gets a mental picture of what he wants to depict on his canvas. Then he takes his brush, using some colours alone, mixing other colours, and he combines all these to make a picture that looks like the one he is now seeing. And after a time the painter has finished his picture, and later he begins to paint still another one, and so his work goes on. If he desires to do better all the time in his work, each picture he paints makes it possible for him to paint a better one next time.
Tell the child that he too is painting a picture of life by using his heart and mind, and if he puts love and kindness, good will and joy, and gladness into his picture and if he tries to live all he is doing, then he is giving expression to a true picture of life. The child may ask how he can give expression to his picture, and you can tell him through kind words, through generous acts, even through the pleasant look or smile, that in this way he is just as truly giving expression to his picture as the painter does with his brush and colours. By using such illustrations, the child becomes more interested and more likely to follow your suggestion, and the story part of it aids in awakening the imagination in a healthy way. Children often have unhealthy imaginings, and frequently it is found that they are caused by the nurse or others who have the care of them telling them gruesome stories and filling their minds with unreal fears, so that they are stimulated in a false rather than in a true way. Talk to children about nature, of how the plants grow, and the trees blossom and produce fruit; or one may talk in an intelligent way to a child about music, and how even a child life may become musical. Explain to the child how rhythm makes everything beautiful, and how easy it is through the use of rhythm to work and to play, and how it produces a soothing influence of mind and keeps his body in a restful condition. Tell him to listen to the running of the brooks, the singing of the birds, and to hear the beautiful melodies that are to be found in both; that if he will only listen with his ears, he will find wonderful melodies coming from nature that possibly no one has ever heard before. Explain to him how rhythm and melody are of his soul and mind, but that he has to make harmony in his outer world, and that harmony comes through adjusting his little life to the lives of his playmates and others with whom he may be living, and that all real music has in it rhythm, melody, and harmony. In this way you will get him interested in music more quickly, and help to lay a sure foundation for his life. One of the world's greatest philosophers, Plato, has said that "music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, just, and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form."
"To know, Rather consists in opening out a way Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape Than in effecting entry for a light Supposed to be without."
Let the composer of the present cease catering to the morbid, gloomy, vicious, and materialistic thought and sing his song of hope that shall gladden and rejoice the minds of those who are able to receive it. Let the singer and the instrumentalist give of their very best, selecting such compositions as will inspire to courage, and everything that is grand and beautiful. Let all those idealists who can form in mind a true appreciation of the world's needs, in so far as in them lies, bring of the best they have to satisfy a real hungering and thirsting after the ideal. Because the world is hungering and thirsting, and this is typified the world over by unrest.
"O Music! sphere-descended maid, Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid! Why, goddess, why, to us denied, Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside As in that loved Athenian bower You learn'd an all-commanding power. 'Tis said, and I believe the tale, Thy humblest reed could more prevail Had more of strength, diviner rage, Than all which charms this laggard age. O bid our vain endeavours cease; Revive the just designs of Greece; Return in all thy simple state! Confirm the tales her sons relate!"
The world is seeking to find something that will satisfy, and in the end such a quest shall not prove in vain. The world of nature is filled with grandeur and beauty of every kind and description, but man can only appreciate this as he unfolds to the great and the beautiful that exists in his own life. Only then will come the full recognition of that which is grand and beautiful in nature. The real education is the unfolding or becoming conscious of our God-given qualities, the becoming enlightened by the spirit of love and wisdom, so that the mind becomes filled with a new and living idealism; and this idealism, in turn, is expressed in all man's outer work. Living such a life is music from first to last; music that makes for the real rhythm, melody and harmony, or the full measure of a man. The letter killeth; the Spirit alone giveth life. The world has lived the letter too long; it has brought no real profit. Let it begin to live the life of the Spirit, and we shall have a new renaissance that will bring with it all that goes to make life worth living. The nine Muses will bring of their hidden riches and bestow them on the world; possibly even in a greater measure than may have been done in the past; and the world will pass from darkness into light, and the whole earth will rejoice and be glad.