Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wisdom from Franklin

A few years  ago, our family went on a "field trip" to Philadelphia. One of the highlights was our visit to Ben Franklin's grave in the Christ Church cemetery. Keeping with tradition, I tossed a penny on his tombstone and said a prayer, "God, give me wisdom. Even a fraction of Franklin's wisdom would be nice."

Although Ben was never a president or king -- he was a genuine leader. Leadership is influence -- and Ben Franklin certainly had a lot of that! In fact, he still does! Even from his grave, he influences us.

It was Ben Franklin who said, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." I'll bet every kid in America has heard that one at some time or another.

I'm sure northwoods residents can relate to this one: "Fish and visitors stink after three days."

Here's another good quote: "People who are wrapped up in themselves make small packages."

Franklin tried hard to "live on purpose". He didn't want to let life slip past him. "Does thou love
life?" he asked, "Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of."

Two centuries before people started talking about core values, priorities and goals, Ben Franklin
had already discovered his!

His 13 Virtues are worth examining today:
1. Temperance (Be moderate in what you consume.)
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: (Do what you should.)
5. Frugality: (Waste nothing.)
6. Industry: (Make your minutes count for something worthwhile.)
7. Sincerity: (Be honest and true.)
8. Justice: (Do what is right.)
9. Moderation: (Avoid extremes and don't nurse resentments.)
10 Cleanliness: (Be clean in body, clothes, and habitation.):
11. Tranquility: (Be not disturbed at trifles.)
12. Chastity: (Sexuality should only be expressed in appropriate ways.)
13. Humility: (Maintain a servant's heart.)

For Franklin, achieving these virtues was a lifetime journey -- never fully complete. In the process, he determined to, "work as if he was to live a hundred years and pray as if he was to die tomorrow."

No wonder Ben made it on the one hundred-dollar bill!

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