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Sometimes, too much of a good thing is good for you.

In fact, there are three things you need all the time, with no limit on them. I’m not talking about beer, donuts, or video games. Or fill in three things that could turn into vices for you.

While donuts are good and lovely things to enjoy occasionally, we can’t live off them.

Moderation is good in most things, and we must keep the wisdom it carries. However, there are three things we must continually return to because we need without limit. They are things our forefathers understood and wrote a lot about.

What are they? Truth, goodness, and beauty.

Philosophers call them the three transcendentals. They are the wind in our sails. They are air for our spirits. They are external values that we don’t produce on our own. We have to gain them through experience and life. I was fortunate to grow up in a family full of them a lot of the time.


“What is truth?” is an age-old question.

Man has spent all of history trying to discover what truth is—so there are a lot of opinions on the matter. It’s tough right now because so many people are shouting fake this and fake that.

For today, I’d like to put forth Aristotle’s definition and run with it for a moment. Aristotle said truth is “thinking and stating what is.”

For me, and the experiences I’ve had, this is a very accurate description of truth. I grew up with a father and two grandfathers who were truth machines. They said what they thought was reality. The “is” for them was simple and straightforward. They didn’t give one a reason to doubt them either—it always rang true. When they said what they knew was true, you could feel the peace and safety it afforded.

They never shouted it.

They never demanded you to believe them.

They just said what was, and it was up to you to accept them or not.

When you are raised with truth around you, it’s easier to see it when it’s twisted and perverted. And the truth they spoke and thought was lived out in how they treated others. Which ties into goodness.


All three of these men in my life exhibited goodness in their lives. And that is the key to knowing goodness: it benefits those around us.

I noticed that sometimes we do things for ourselves, but they don’t help others. It might be “good” for us, but not for people we love. Self-sacrifice is critical to genuine goodness.

I’ll use my Grandpa Dalton as an example. He was a physician in central Phoenix from 1950 through the 1980s. He was a truthful, good doctor. This meant he put others before himself. One story sticks out: a family couldn’t pay him for the medical services he provided. He treated them for free. They returned a few days later with a chicken as payment. He gladly accepted and continued to treat them for years after that—often for no cost—but no one knew until years later.

This is a small example that doesn’t really stick out until the moment has passed. He didn’t have to treat them for free. He did it because it was a good and beneficial thing to do.

Like truth, goodness doesn’t stand on a rooftop and demand everyone pay attention. It benefits others whether anyone is looking or not.

And it often shows up when we least expect it, like beauty.


Beauty can be blinding. It can sear the heart and alter how we see things around it.

Beauty can be subtle—like a doctor treating a family for free.

Beauty can be obvious, like the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean.

Beauty can be hidden, like the cross of Christ.

But whatever and however we define or discover beauty, one thing has to be included for it to be honest beauty: wholeness.

Like truth and goodness, we have overused beauty in our society. We have also twisted and diminished it beyond what it truly is as a necessity for life. But it still exists, and we know it when we encounter it: there is a wholeness, a “nothing-missing-nothing-lacking” to it. (Thank you, Barbara Niccolosi, for explaining that to me).

Beauty, in reality, has no limits, though we try to put boundaries around it and define it.

It is not and can not be limited to a woman’s or a man’s appearance.

It can not and will not be confined to the elements of nature.

It can not and must not be distorted and redefined by those who want to see it vanish from our hearts and souls.

Beauty brings wholeness because beauty is whole.

Skateboarding and the Three

We will go further into each of the three transcendentals in the following weeks. We will see how they tie into life, art, and skateboarding. In truth, I’ve seen a lot of truth, goodness, and beauty in this sport I celebrate.

To know skateboarding’s awesomeness, it must be seen with the naked eye, not just on videos on YouTube.

To watch someone ollie or skate a pool is seeing the truth—what is at the moment.

To see someone street skate—and land and bail—is to see others rally around them and help them up, celebrate their effort or their landed trick—an act of selfless goodness.

To see people swap stories and trade ideas for new creative ways to express the sport is to witness wholeness on a grand level.

And it’s all something I hope you will experience soon.

Christopher F. Dalton

Christopher F. Dalton is a writer, author, illustrator, small business owner, but more than that he is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of three stellar sons, and friend in need. He and his wife run Huck&Dorothy, an entertainment company.