Do Some Good. Thoughts On Ben Franklin And The 4th of July.

Hi everyone 🙂

Here in the states Wednesday is the 4th of July. Barbecues, parades, and fireworks will abound. For most of us it will be a fun day with miles of red, white, and blue in every  direction. One of those days when everyone feels connected to one another just by the fact that we call the USA home.

We should all be proud of the little corner of the earth that is our heritage, wherever that may be. Every nation has a vast and rich heritage that has contributed to our modern world and the development of the human race. As I begin my world travels I am touched to experience first hand all the beautiful diversity meshed together by our common humanity.

I look at the formation of the USA as a great experiment in humanity and self- governance. An almost obvious conclusion to the Age of Enlightenment.  As I have gotten older, I have tried to dig a little deeper into the lives and personalities of the Founding Fathers beyond the brief glimpse we are offered in school. My motivation is simple: True liberty requires self-discipline, wisdom, and understanding of human nature. It requires the desire to evolve into something more than the current human condition and state of affairs. The voice of the Founding Fathers is just a relevant today as it was 200 plus years ago.

One of my favorite Founding Fathers is Ben Franklin.  No doubt that the man was a genius. He was a very disciplined individual who stuck to a very strict daily schedule as well as a personal code of conduct known as The 13 Virtues.  No doubt it was discipline that helped him develop so many groundbreaking inventions and still have time to assist in forming a new country. His daily schedules always began and ended the same way. Each morning he asked ” What good can I do today?” each evening before he retired he reflected by asking ” What good have I done today?”  To think that someone who shaped history so profoundly made a conscious effort each day to do some good in the world inspires me.

This philosophy doesn’t require perfection of character, or the genius of Ben Franklin. It allows for mistakes and being human. All it requires is a shift in perspective, even for a short moment during the day, from one’s self to another. We often think that helping others requires sacrifice. Volunteering time or money to a worthy cause. It certainly can be that. I would suggest that in addition to obvious charities, doing good daily is mastered in how we approach our everyday life.

Here’s some ideas on how to “Do Good” each day:

  • Smile at others. Make friendly eye contact. Say “hello” if it is appropriate.
  • Speak kindly to others and about others.
  • Defend the defenseless.
  • Hold a door open.
  • At work, social gatherings, or when appropriate, reach out to the lonely, shy, or less popular. Make everyone feel welcome and included.
  • Write a letter, make a call, or send a text to brighten someone’s day.
  • Use your manners. ” Please”, “Thank you”, and “Excuse me” go a long way to make others feel valued.
  • Help someone with a task.
  • Be conscious about how you use social media. Resist the urge to rant. Can you make your point in away that builds bridges rather than ruffles feathers?
  • Listen to someone else’s point of view without interrupting or casting judgement.
  • Be kind to animals and all living things.
  • Be a steward of the environment. Pick up after yourself and recycle when you can.
  • Buy local. It helps your neighbors make a living.
  • Tip your servers in restaurants.
  • Treat yourself well. Forgive yourself and know you are going to mess up and fall short of your expectations.
  • See your career, no matter how humble, as a service to all.

A great country and a great world can created by ordinary people performing good and nobel acts as they go about their day.  The reality of the world as it is today could be changed in an instant if each of us strove to ” Do Some Good” as we went about our lives. We don’t have to wait for any government leader or spiritual guru to start a  conscious shift in our affairs. It is, and always has been, within our power to shape events with our everyday actions.

So in Honor of old Ben and the 4th of July, I will strive to ” Do Some Good” each day despite my shortcomings and be the change I want to see in the world. How about you?

As always, I would love to hear from you:)

Until Next time,

Laura

 

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