Franklin left huge legacy; What will yours be?

Published 12:59 am Saturday, August 26, 2017

“What statement does your life make?” I once heard someone ask that thought-provoking question and it made me stop and think.

For an answer, I began with the present, taking a look at the person I am today. Then, I began looking back through the years, taking account of what I’ve done with my life. Next, my thoughts turned to the future and the rest of my lifetime .

How would you answer that question? To be honest, I know what I want people to think. Have you and I made the most of every opportunity in our lives? Will the world be a better place because we were here?

Let me tell you about someone who demonstrated how one person’s life can make a difference.   He was born Jan. 17, 1706, and was the 15th child of soap maker Josiah Franklin and his wife, Abiah. His name was Benjamin.

Many people are reading this page with the help of bifocals. Inventor? Benjamin Franklin, age 79. The presses that printed this page were powered by electricity. Who was one of the first to harness such power? Ben Franklin, age 40.

Others may be reading this newspaper in a library. Who founded the first library in America? Ben Franklin, age 25.

Who started the first fire department? Ben Franklin, age 31. Who invented the lightning rod? Ben Franklin, age 43. Who designed a heating stove still in use today? You guessed it, Ben Franklin, age 36.

This man’s thoughtful sayings are often quoted today. Franklin once said, “God helps those who help themselves.”

“Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today.”

“Honesty is the best policy.”

“ Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

He was an economist, philosopher, diplomat, printer and publisher. Franklin envisioned the use of paratroopers (from hot air balloons) a century before the airplane was invented. At age 16, he was a newspaper columnist. At age 81, he was a framer of the United States Constitution. He died April 17, 1790, at the age of 84.

Benjamin Franklin only had a year of schooling, all his family could afford. Most of us have more education than Ben. His life proves that you’re never too old or too young to make a difference. But, making a difference doesn’t mean you have to become a famous person.

Each of us has a circle of influence, be it our family, friends, co-workers and fellow church members. You and I can leave a legacy for generations to come by being godly examples.

Among Franklin’s many sayings, consider these wise words. “Lost time is never found again.” He also wrote, “Work as if   you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.”

In the apostle Paul’s words, “Make the very most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:16 Amplified Bible). Or as Ben Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”


–Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at