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Ben’s Birthday

I’ve always thought it appropriate that Benjamin Franklin –inventor, creator, thinker – was born in January, a time when people feel inspired by the unspoken promises that come with a new year.  Inspired to re-invent themselves, create new opportunities, think outside the box.   I admire that Ben had the courage (and the foresight) to challenge the status quo, to dare to be different. In doing so, he was able to give the world so much – Poor Richard’s Almanack, the Franklin Stove, bifocals.  And I find it fascinating that, in 2014, 300-some years after his death, Ben’s name is still well-known.  Sadly, that is more than can be said about some of the prominent figures of today (as Jay Leno’s jaywalking escapades continue to prove).

As an aside, Ben and I have been on a first-name basis ever since I was little and my mother claimed him as her historical idol…sometimes I refer to him as her colonial boyfriend.  If time travel ever becomes a possibility, I know I will find my mom sitting across from him at some small café, deep in conversation over a good cup of tea.

Anyway, I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions but I’ve always been big on meaningful quotes.  And Mr. Franklin has penned many of my favorites.  So in honor of “The First American’s” birthday – the big day is January 17th – I thought I’d share my top 14 Franklin-isms for 2014…

  1. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
    Last year, I printed this on a bookmark so that every time I see it I’m reminded to let go of what’s comfortable in favor of a new and challenging pursuit.
  2. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. After a few months off in 2013, I’m finally getting back to my 5:45 a.m. gym classes.  And my 10 p.m. (ok, sometimes 8 p.m.) bedtime.
  3. A small leak will sink a great ship.
  4. If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins. I think passion drives a lot of us here at A Woman’s Place (staff, volunteers, and clients alike).  Luckily, reason has a place here, too (well, most of the time).
  5. Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.
  6. I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper.  Then I look at the obituary page.  If my name is not on it, I get up. – Thank you, Ben, for not taking yourself too seriously.
  7. Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. …see above.
  8. I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. I like this optimistic view of “failure”.  It helps me to push on, even when things aren’t going as planned.  Plus, it’s comforting to think that even the greats messed up.
  9. Take time for all things; great haste makes great waste.
  10. Never confuse motion with action. – Too often I catch myself spinning my wheels without moving forward.  This reminds me not only to pay closer attention to that “wheel-spinning” feeling…but to do something about it.
  11. Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. – Well said!
  12. Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble. – A few months ago I tried to get myself to complain less.  That didn’t exactly work but I did start to actively acknowledge my blessings by writing them down (in a spreadsheet…I’m kind of a nerd).  Sometimes I need to see, in writing (and maybe over a glass of that wine…), that even bad days have their saving graces.
  13. A penny saved is a penny earned.
  14. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. –So much of our work here at AWP is about empowering others to do for themselves, rather than doing for them.  I wonder how much closer we could be to a flourishing Bucks County if we could get everyone aboard the empowerment train.


Creativity: A Woman’s Place encourages the creation of meaningful new ideas,
interpretations, and rules.*
*excerpt from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place

Christina Baer
Education & Training Manger

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