Benjamin Franklin

Posted: December 27, 2011 in Life's Lessons, Political
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To me, no one signifies American patriotism, liberty, innovation and work ethic like Benjamin Franklin. His inventions, his public service, his wisdom, and his writings are all American treasures! So many years ago when my wife and I were told that our first child was expected to be a boy who was due to be born around the 4th of July, I got my wife to agree to name the child “Benjamin”. When we had a lovely daughter instead, we postponed the “Ben-naming” until the next child.

At age 20, already a wise man, Franklin came up with a list of virtues that he would strive to improve on.  Each week he would work on one virtue, “leaving all others to their ordinary chance”.  In his autobiography, he wrote: “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.” 

Here they are, sort of a list of American proverbs based loosely on our Judeo-Christian heritage.

1. Temperance. Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation:

2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.

3. Order. Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.

4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality. Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.

6. Industry. Lose no Time. Be always employ’d in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.

7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice. Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.

9. Moderation. Avoid Extreams. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Cloaths or Habitation.

11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity. Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dulness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another’s Peace or Reputation.

13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Of the many, many great quotes attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it would be difficult to state a favorite. But whenever I am tempted to gossip or say something bad about someone, this comes to mind:

“Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody”


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