You have plans for dying. Do you have a plan for living? Most of what I know about Ben Franklin came during American History class in high school. There’s that whole kite and electricity thing, right? How did Franklin handle the likes of Laetitia Casta?
Franklin was an inventor. Those of us who require bifocals can thank Ben for that. He was a founding father of the US, a diplomat who loved French ladies. Literally.
Franklin signed the original Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
Unknown to most of us and certainly not visible in the history books we ignored in high school, is Franklin’s Plan for Living.
As I understand it, Franklin started his plain early in life, which may explain his lengthy list of accomplishments, including French ladies (whom, we presume, surrender as quickly as the men).
The story of Franklin’s Plan for Living says he developed it in 1726, at the tender age of 20. The Plan is made up of 13 vitues and is inspired by the Apostle Paul’s counsel recorded at Phillippians 4:8.
1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.
2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.
6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Historians say Franklin focused attention on each one for a week, going the cycle in 13 weeks, covering each item four times in a year.
Assuming he started at age 20, old Ben managed to accomplish much over the following 60 or so years.
Also assuming Franklin met a lovely French maiden (or two, or three) the likes of Laetitia Casta, one wonders how Franklin managed to maintain control over #11, #9, #5, #2, and #1.