No bodybuilder has ever been more worthy of the title Mr. America than Benjamin Franklin. A sturdy and fit seventeen year old boy decides there is no future in family business and strikes out on his own. The last born in a very large Boston family, he had few role models and became one. Never handsome, he had a way with people, especially the ladies and knew it at an early age. He had no superiors yet had no difficulty behaving as if every other person was.
He operated from a level of consciousness few of us can imagine three centuries from his birth. The inventor of the Eighteenth Century internet we call the public library and free education that coexists with the Twenty First Century internet. Possibly the greatest diplomat who has ever lived. He would come to suffer all the failures and disappointments of ordinary men and had an intimate bond with them. We could say he was THE American who gave a damn, his entire life.
He never wrote for kings or princes - professionals of any sort, but he was widely read by all. He did not invent the Post Office. He was the first to make it work. He did invent and organized the volunteer fire departments which remain with us today. He probably had as many bad ideas as good but knew better than to act on them. In relation to the few generations of great minds who preceeded him, he was a critical sponge, taking from each that which was most useful to his personal world view.
He knew the value of appearances and always appeared industrious, to the point of removing the grease from the axle of a wheelbarrow to make it squeal as he he pushed newsprint down the street. “Look at me - I'm working. " He likely practiced more than half of what he preached, which made him a singular man then - and now.
He became less able as he aged. To compensate, he became more gracious. Even quicker to see prospects for agreement and agreeableness. His son becomes a lifelong and bitter disappointment so he creates the relationship he wanted with his son, with his son's son. The man could be checked but never defeated.
He was a young man when he realized he could organize his bar buddies into like minded citizen commitees to benefit the entire community. To encourage local business, he and his friends would discuss the business news in Philadelphia on a regular basis, sometimes meeting weekly. They would inquire wheter there was any new business in town, welcome the proprietor and offer personal assistance. They would identify those businesses that were struggling or experiencing misfortune and render what assistance they could. A genuine Better Business Bureau, not the club we have by that name today.
When Mr. Franklin, who could never be called religious, noted that one or another religion was dominating the community, he invited men of competing faiths to come and speak publicly, supporting an already established tradition of the lecture circuit. . He believed men should live by rules mutually agreed upon, not handed down from questionable authority.
Benjamin became the most interesting American who ever lived by first becoming the most interested American. There was nothing ever spoken of beneath his notice or his interest. In spiritual terms he may have been the most caring American who ever lived. If you could not care less, he could not care more. If this modern nation cared half as much as he did, it would be a nation of joy and contentment. If you have not read at least one Franklin biography, consider yourself uneducated. If you got a diploma without reading a Franklin biography, sue the school. You have been robbed.
I grew up without heroes and never missed them, until I learned about Ben. My attachment now is not unlike one's first love affair. With Ben as my yardstick, the heroes I now have pale by comparison, but since they yet live there is time to surpass Ben's incredible achivements. If this man's life does not inspire you, you have chosen to be uninspired. If that is your choice, you can't blame Ben and now you can't blame me either.
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Ed Howes sought and found, knocked and entered. Now he sees things differently. To see more of what he sees, please visit http://www.justanotherview.com or do an author search here at Ezine Articles.