Benjamin Franklin's Life as an Model of How People Should Live

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Born in a humble background, Benjamin Franklin is fondly remembered as one of America’s founding fathers. Born as the 8th born in a family of seventeen children, Benjamin was not lucky to get a quality formal education past the age of ten years. He, however, self-taught himself and managed to rise as a businessman, author, scientist, inventor and an icon in the history of the US. In his autobiography, Benjamin gives a recount of his life during the different periods of his life. The original work, which was his memoirs addressed to different people, was later published in 1791 in four parts. All through, he showed consistency and unending effort to be better at what he did. Franklin was always trying to live a model lifestyle as he notes in his letters. His inventions and work as a diplomat and author prove that his uniquely American idealism that labor, thrift, and merit are rewarded eventually.

Addressing his son William, Benjamin in his letters, illustrates how he had to work hard as he tried to establish his printing career. Having not had a formal education, Benjamin self-taught himself until he got an apprentice to his brother, who was a printer. It is remarkable how he works hard and strives to improve his skills working under people until he eventually gets his publication Pennsylvania Gazette. Walter Isaacson, in his book ‘Benjamin Franklin: An American Life' mirrors’ Benjamin’s life and the effect it has on people who are constantly trying to better themselves and pushing the limits. He notes that 'Through his self-improvement tips of for cultivating personal virtues and his civic-improvement schemes for furthering the common good, he helped to create, and celebrate, a new ruling class of ordinary citizens”. It is through his achievements that people can derive their motivation that labor is rewarded. His story of a boy who was not schooled rising to the heights he did in his lifetime only echoes his constant effort in everything that he did.

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Franklin, through experience and at a young age, learned the value thrift and being prudent after his careless purchase of a whistle. This was when he was seven years, and all he cared for was the pleasure he derived from the whistle that he was willing to part with all the money he had. When he later learned the value of the whistle from the siblings, all the joy he had vanished. In the letter to Madame Brillon, Franklin writes that “when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, ‘don’t give too much for the whistle' and I saved my money”. This is a great lesson as it resonates with everyone across every generation. He worked hard for everything he had, and understanding the pain of acquiring it made him careful about how he spent his resources. It is important to understand the value of things and the importance they bring to one’s life rather than the pleasure one gets from them. The economic sense behind Franklin can help people avoid getting in financial crisis through unnecessary expenditure on things that do not add value to them or are unnecessary luxuries. In his words, Benjamin Franklin said that for one to go to the extent of being in debt or losing their career because of their fondness for fine things as paying very dear for their whistle. This brings up the lesson that people need to disconnect from materialism, which eventually prompt objectivity and focusing on the valuable things.

There was also no easy way that Franklin could have made it in life and career if he did not deserve it. He acknowledged this fact, and he was in constant efforts to better himself and sharpen his skills. Born in a humble background meant that Franklin had to fight his way through life. His first work to be published was when he was working at his brother’s printing shop. He was passionate about writing, and he developed an idea where he would drop articles anonymously for his brother and friends to publish. Work from renowned authors and his work was continuously published. Although he got into an argument with his brother once he revealed he was the one writing the anonymous articles, it gave him the confidence and courage to pursue writing. That was the genesis of him owning his paper. He went ahead and influenced great change in the press, which was full of corruption and alliances that hindered growth and progression in the media. In his book on Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network in which he disseminates the virtues in the early American press, Ralph Frasca highlights the changes that Franklin brought to the press. This was done by focusing on the merit and quality of the work they were publishing. He notes that through his printing network, “he financed and assisted some of the most important printers of the era and helped lay a foundation for the increasingly free press”. By doing this, he recognized and supported authors who deserved to have their work printed rather than having to collude with cartels in the media, which would have almost been impossible. It appealed to his humble beginning and how he struggled to finally get the recognition he deserved, and he wanted to create a platform for others. This perfectly fit the modern society where people with talent are left out because they do not have the connections. It is, however, encouraging to note that there are people who are constantly on the lookout for people with merit to support and grow them. The idea is for people to push themselves to achieve what they want and not expect that things would work out without them trying.

It is with no doubt that Benjamin Franklin was one of the greatest people who impacted the world with their wisdom, service, and inventions. His idealism his pursuit of perfection set the standards and a point of reflection for people during his time and beyond. His knowledge and wisdom helped shape history as is with the present generation. He was vocal on people laboring to get what they want, and his life was evidence that it is rewarding. Further, he illustrated why people should not be obsessed with material things but tthe value. Also, he demonstrated the importance of people believing and working towards merit and not an entitlement. Cumulatively, Franklin's life was a model on how people should live and remains practical to date.

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Benjamin Franklin’s Life as an Model of How People Should Live. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
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