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5 lessons from Benjamin Franklin

Friday's Fave Five at Living to Tell the StoryIt’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.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin1. Make time for reading.
I’ve been intentionally reading more (and lovin’ it) this week while Jenna is at camp
. Mr. Franklin speaks highly of reading in so many places in his autobiography.

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? 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.


Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

Just catching up on your blog this morning, which always leave me encouraged, wanting to go get the books you're reading, and thankful. Praying for your day to be full of blessing!


Unknown said...

Mr Franklin sounds like an interestin and wise man! I am going to add his book to my ever growing list! I love your is so uplifting! thanks

ellen b said...

Ha! Love #4! I've been enjoying some reading this week. It is good :0)
have a great weekend.

;) said...

Thanks for this interesting post !!

Anonymous said...

What a cool and insightful post Lisa. Love the quote about being nice. So true. I have read a few other books by Ben Franklin in the past, and I always loved his insight and sayings. LOve the Plan B is better than Plan true and what foresight and wisdom.

Islandsparrow said...

Hmmm . . . I think reading is a frolic. What does that say about me? I like other frolics too but I must admit I just got home from a trip and I was so excited that 9 books were waiting for me at the library :)

Praying for you as you care for your mom.

A blessed weekend Lisa!

Barbara H. said...

I like what you gleaned from the book as well as how you presented it and applied it.

Willow said...

Reading often tops my list of fun and frolicky things to do. One reason I teach kids to write is that I want them to be able to convince others with truth and recognize when others are trying to convince with wrong ideas. Your attitude in helping your mom in this stage of life is very encouraging.

Jerralea said...

I love what Franklin said about being nice to people: "They get victory sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them." So many people want to be right, more than nice ...

This was a fun post to read and a very creative way of doing FFF!

Karyn said...

#1 and #2 were things we tried to impress on our kids. So important in the long run.

His attitude about his inventions is remarkable, thanks for sharing that - AND your application to those of us who do not invent.

I also think Franklin's quote on being nice is brilliant.

I'm glad there are such loving folks caring for your mom! I'm sure it eases your burden immensely.

Angela said...

love it all, thanks for the lessons! all things i love and all things i need to be better about!

Susanne said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. And it looks like you've been gleaning lots from it.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Well, I learned a lot from this! I just love how your mind works, Lisa. Your posts are always so heart and thought-provoking. Sweet, sweet personal note on your #3. Funny, our Plan B is God's Plan A, isn't it?

Here's to a blessing-filled week for you.

TXDidi said...

As always, your post has wonderful kernels of truth for me to savor. Thanks for sharing them. And I SO agree that the aides who so freely share their patient, gentle love with their charges in the nursing homes are true jewels in this world. Have a great week.


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