It’s been called one of the most interesting autobiographies in English. It’s a book recommended for college-bound students. I endorse both claims. I guess my dad had it on his shelf for a reason. Read it yourself and see.
Here are 5 things I learned from
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each day… Reading was the only amusement I allow'd myself. I spent no time in taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind.
(But maybe he was a wee extreme? Do allow time for frolicks of some kind.)
2. Hone your writing skills.
You never know when they’ll come in handy. Framing my thoughts inside words has been an emotional lifesaver for me this season.
.. I wrote and printed an anonymous pamphlet on it… and they happening to have no writers among them that were able to answer it, their opposition slacken'd.
…My friends there, who conceiv'd I had been of some service, thought fit to reward me by employing me in printing the money; a very profitable jobb and a great help to me. This was another advantage gain'd by my being able to write.
3. Sometimes Plan B is better than Plan A.
Can you imagine if Ben Franklin had been a swimming instructor instead of…well, all the things he ended up being?
…from this incident, I thought it likely that, if I were to remain in England and open a swimming-school, I might get a good deal of money; and it struck me so strongly, that, had the overture been sooner made me, probably I should not so soon have returned to America.
Sometimes I play “what if” my life had turned out the way I had planned it. Oh my. I’m glad God didn’t let it!
As I watched my mom not want to get out of bed on Wednesday or eat any lunch at all, I was reminded that maybe it was best that my dad died first so that he was spared these scenes, and so that I would take better advantage of what time I have left with Mama.
4. Don’t hog your blessings; share them freely.
Gov'r. Thomas was so pleas'd with the construction of this stove, as described in it, that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a term of years; but I declin'd it from a principle which has ever weighed with me on such occasions, viz., That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.
We may not think of compliments as inventions, but I have a friend Julie who so freely thinks of nice things to say to me that I feel like she deserves a patent for her creativity. She was in a car wreck on Friday, and the first thing she said to me when I saw her in the hospital was how pretty I looked in that color shirt and how she loved my haircut (what?).
So when you have a good thought or creation, give it away! At least two people will be blessed by it.
5. Be nice.
It’s simple. But I still need reminding often. You, too?
...in the course of my observation, these disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.
The aids at my mom’s assisted living facility have plenty of opportunities to “dispute, contradict, and confute” those who are doing so with them. But I see them choose love instead.
On Wednesday when my mom kept telling Rea (over and over) that people who are sick should be left alone, Rea kept telling my mom how much she loved her. (I recommend this place to any I know who are looking!)
Remember: Nice wins.
* * *
First it was Thomas Edison. Now, Benjamin Franklin.
What have you learned anew from the old guys?
Share your blessings this week with our friends at Susanne’s for Friday’s Fave Five.