Among countless excellent writers I decided to write about a man who was one of the most gifted and influential man in American history. Timelessness of his views and clues for everyday life are still useful in the XXI century. Of course, it is not enough to only call him a writer as he was incredibly intelligent and proved to be magnificent invertor, politician, printer, businessman, scientist and much more. Thanks to his strong political views, he participated in creation of the USA .
One of his book is his “Autobiography” where the reader finds out about his family. Franklin moves back to XVI century to tell about his family roots. Benjamin did not have an easy life, because there were seventeen of them in the family.
Although his passion to education, it was not given to him to get a formal education. Family financial situation made him withdraw from school as a young boy and work hard to make ends meet and breed the family. Even though, he proved that it is possible to self-educate, to make experiments, learn languages and acquire knowledge by himself. That is impressive comparing the situation nowadays where young people do not appreciate their good circumstances to gain good education.
A lot of my students do not bother to learn English or German which are compulsorily taught at school, they are very lazy, even though they have permanent access to Internet where they can deepen their knowledge. People read less and less nowadays and do not feel the need to develop themselves. According to the writer: “ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interests”. This quotation should be placed on my notice board in my classroom.
Coming back to Franklin, he learned from experience. His poor relationship with his brother and work as a printer made him move to England where he gained more experienced and after coming back to Philadelphia he founded his own printing house. He never gave up. As the proverb says “ The need is the mother of inventions” not having a fond, he made it by himself. In his autobiographical book he also talks about death of his son.
That was because of Chickenpox. At that time there was a vaccine against that disease. Unfortunately, his son did not got one. Benjamin believed that vaccine could prevent the illness. Nowadays, there are some opponents and supporters in this issue but as most scientists admit, a vaccine proved to prevent many deadly diseases. In XVII century Franklin saw vaccine as a way to stop some dangerous illnesses.
Benjamin Franklin wanted equality among people. Although he used slavers as well, he changed his attitudes and freed them explaining, that the nation could not be independent if the rights for all nations, races and sexes are not the same so later on, he was for abolishing slavery. Benjamin was also against arranged marriages.
In a small work “The way to wealth” Franklin gives numerous of precious tips on how to run a business. The proverbs are current until today. My favourite is “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. Definitely, I agree with the author because it has been medically proved that people should go to bed early in order to function well the next day. Once the mind has a rest so it works better in the morning.
From a perspective of a teacher, I really love: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. The more teachers engage their students in exercisers and studies, let them experience, feel, touch, the more learners will get out of it.
That was proved by psychologists as well. Franklin, in “Poor Richard’s Almanack” put numerous of tips which can be interpreted until these days. Poles do not even realise that the quotations used by them come from Benjamin’s books. For example, most Polish generations say “ Never leave that till tomorrow, which you can do today”.
As a Puritan, Franklin believed that “God helps those who help themselves”. Easy to explain, not only to trust in God’s help and lay down, but make an effort to improve the situation, work hard, then the dream will come true. That is very obvious from the Bible too “ from empty and Salomon does not pour”.
In “ The way to wealth” Franklin gives some advice to people to respect money saying: “ A penny saved is a penny earned”, not to be lavish, keep some saving and multiply money rather than spend on unnecessary goods. As he said: “ Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths. That is the truest truth. Even myself, spend quite a lot of money on sales. Shops and advertisements attracts customers with bargains, discounts and so-called “special offers”.
That is nothing more than a marketing trick to lure shoppers and tempt with new products. Some people totally lose common sense and purchase useless items which they dig in their already tight wardrobes or storages. Franklin would say: “Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship”, I really have to remember that one, because I quite often buy more than I need.
Benjamin Franklin said that “ There never was a good war or bad peace” and his words are still alive. Even regarding the issue of war, when the USA army went to Iraq. Even though the politicians made excuses trying to persuade the citizens that was for their good, the war cost thousands of lives on both sides. Most of them were innocent civilians killed by accident, what makes matter worse, a lot of children. The US and NATO army suffered as well, most came back but disabled and wounded badly, not many remember to support them nowadays.
The last issue I want to talk about regarding Franklin’s work was a proverb “ No gains without pains”. Isn’t it true? For me, it is, absolutely. Everything I have achieved so far in life cost me a lot of physical and psychological pain.
To earn money for the house, I sacrificed, felt loneliness and longing for my family and ordinary life in Poland. To gain some education I had to devote myself to it, study all nights and work during the day. To give birth to my dearest daughters, I had to go through eight hours unbearable pain. Obviously, everything was worth that pain and it was not the last hardship I went through.
The really last one, which I came across says: “When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself”. The goodness comes back, pays off. Never do I hesitate when it comes to back up a person in need.
To sum up, I really appreciate Franklin’s proverbs and the wisdom which can be learned from them. Although, I may have sounded sad and full of pain. That is not true. Even though there has been quite a lot on my plane for the last months I am a very enthusiastic and happy person, enjoying every single day and people surrounding me. As Franklin used to say: “Happiness depends more on the inward dispositions of mind than on outward circumstances”.