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 grew up with16 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 legacies are you leaving 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.