How do you help others? What problem do you solve?
Ben Franklin was our oldest and perhaps wisest of the Founding Fathers, at 70 years of age, when he signed the “Declaration of Independence”.
Ben Franklin was one of 17 children. He grew up with 16 siblings. He was the fifteenth and “youngest son” of Josiah Franklin, soap and candle maker, and his second wife Abiah Folger Franklin. Ben had 9 full siblings and 7 half siblings. At an early age Ben became an excellent reader and did well at the “Boston Latin School”. When Ben was 10, his father ran out of money to send him to school. So Ben came to work full time with his father at the soap and candle store. When he was 12, Ben was apprenticed to his older brother, James who taught him newspaper publishing.
When Franklin was 20 years old, he developed his character by creating a system of “Thirteen Virtues” to live by. “1. Temperance 2. Silence. 3. Order 4. Resolution 5. Frugality 6. Industry 7. Sincerity 8. Justice 9. Moderation 10. Cleanliness 11. Tranquility 12. Chastity 13. Humility”
Franklin’s “13 Virtues” are timeless. These are the virtues that molded Franklin into a strong thinker and role model for the future. He worked on one virtue each week. Benjamin Franklin said, “Tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”
We all need “virtues” to live and strive for!
At twenty-two years of age, Franklin opened his printing shop and his newspaper, the “Pennsylvania Gazette”. His newspaper was both well read and profitable and later his book “Poor Richard’s Almanack” became a best seller in the colonies. In Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey he became the official printer, printing documents, laws, and money. He also helped begin newspapers in Connecticut, New York, and in the West Indies.
Ben Franklin everyday of his life wanted to make the lives around him better. He asked himself two questions daily.
Every morning he asked himself, “What good shall I do this day?” Every evening he asked himself, “What good have I done today?”
Every day Franklin took that first step to make someone else’s life better. When Franklin saw a need he filled it. He built the “First Lending Library in America”, the “First Fire Department in Pennsylvania,” establishing the first hospital, “Pennsylvania Hospital”, and when he saw families suffering from losing their homes to fire he helped establish the “Philadelphia Contribution for Insurance Against Loss by Fire.” When New Jersey had a problem with counterfeit money, he developed “a currency with anti-counterfeiting techniques”. Ben Franklin enjoyed helping others solve their problems. The legacies he created have lasted over 240 years. What legacy will you leave for the next generation?
So what are the three questions you should ask your self each day?
- 1) What virtue will I work on this week? Remember, it is never too late to grow and change. http://www.thirteenvirtues.com
- 2) Just as Benjamin Franklin asked himself each morning, ask yourself, “What good shall I do this day?”
- 3) Every evening ask yourself Benjamin Franklin’s question, “What good have I done today?”
By helping others you will have great satisfaction and leave a lasting legacy just as Benjamin Franklin did.
Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Amazon.com Best Selling Author, John Maxwell Team Member, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, sought after speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. Her book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available on Amazon or Kindle. Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org