Ben Franklins Virtues

Topics: Benjamin Franklin, Virtue, Cleanliness Pages: 5 (2054 words) Published: December 17, 2012
“Live without committing any fault at any time”. This quote, which was said by Benjamin Franklin when explaining why he came up with his 13 virtues, is a quote that is very hard to live by. Ben Franklin admitted that he was never able to live the virtues perfectly, but felt he had become a better and happier person for having made the attempt. With this said, I decided that it was worth a try, hoping that maybe these virtues would make me think differently about things as well, and possibly make me a better person. When this project was introduced, I had many doubts that I would actually be able to live up to Benjamin Franklin’s virtues. As I read through the list of 13, I was not quite sure what virtue’s I wanted to try and live by for a week. The first virtue that was listed was Temperance, which means eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. This virtue did not really pop out to me as one I was interested in trying to live by. Although temperance would have given me the confidence to start making improvements in other places in my life, I decided to keep looking. The next virtue, Silence, which means: speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling. This virtue did pop out to me, and I began to consider whether or not this would be one of the virtues I would try to live by for the week. In the age we live in, there is constant noise and chatter, and Ben Franklin made silence one of his virtues to try and teach men when and when not to speak. People constantly are saying the wrong things, whether they realize it or not, and although Ben Franklin would not know about this, the use of technology to communicate has made the virtue of silence even that much harder. Maybe you have become more silent face to face, but everything changes when you use technology. Ben Franklin urged the use of patiencessness when describing the virtue of silence, implying that patience is the key to silence, and if you just wait a little bit longer, the words will no longer be needed. The 3rd Virtue is Order: Let all things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. This virtue explains that in order for men to thrive, they need a certain order. However, taking on too much order would result in an imbalance in your life, because too many things would be changing; affecting your order once again. I kept skimming over the virtues, not really seeing one that I was very interested in challenging myself to face, when I came across the virtue of cleanliness: tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation. As I kept reading through the rest of Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, I realized that if more people applied these virtues to there every day lives, more good things would come out for them. These virtues, I think, are defiantly worth living up to today. Some may be harder than others, and times have changed since Ben Franklin wrote these, but my experience has made me come to realize that by just changing the simple things you do it can actually make a big difference in the long run, whether people notice it or you just notice it yourself.

The first virtue I decided to challenge myself with was the virtue of silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. There are many examples in where you could use the virtue of silence, which was one of the main reasons I chose it. I wanted to be able to experience this virtue in many ways, and see which ways worked best for me. I decided to choose this virtue because I thought it could have a big impact on me, and the way I act, especially around my parents. Sometimes, I do not always know when to stop talking, and when not to say certain things, and that usually runs me into trouble. Also, my parents always yell at me for the use of my cell phone, and although Benjamin Franklin probably was not thinking about this when creating his virtues I decided that silence might help with that as well. I began by...
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