Posted by News Express | 19 July 2016 | 2,170 times
One man whose life history was dedicated to prove this truth was Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin, was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. He is only one of the two historic personalities on an American dollar bill who has never been President. Yet, he occupies the most conspicuous of places in the hundred dollar bill. Despite not been an American president he is widely regarded and often more respected than most American presidents. He is seen as one of the greatest Americans to have ever lived. He was truly a renaissance man.
Benjamin Franklin is regarded as one of the greatest men and thinkers the world has ever known. He was an author. He was a painter. He was an inventor. He was a politician. He was an ambassador. He built libraries, hospitals, businesses, insurance companies and even a fire department. He helped write the declaration of independence and the constitution of the United States of America.
Benjamin Franklin became one of the most productive and self-actualised people in all of history. Yet, all these his achievements, he credited to the list of virtues he developed in his early life. As a matter of fact Benjamin Franklin thinks working on his 13-item list of virtues were the greatest discoveries he ever made.
These virtues include:
MEN AND NATIONS ARE NOT GREAT BY THE VIRTUE OF THEIR WEALTH, BUT BY THEWEALTH OF THEIR VIRTUE. Benjamin Franklin was a great man by all standards, but more than that, he is one of the few men in history that succeeded in helping to build a great nation. So, we can comfortably learn from him.
An indepth study of the true reason for greatness of nations will always lead a thorough researcher to the factor of values and virtues. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “There never was a truly great man who was not at the same time virtuous.” The same could be said of nations, there never was a truly great nation that was not at the same time virtuous.
These words of Benjamin Franklin are in unison with the title of this article. MEN AND NATIONS ARE NOT GREAT BY THE VIRTUE OF THEIR WEALTH, BUT BY THEWEALTH OF THEIR VIRTUE. It is simply not possible. A truly great man is first great in his virtues or values before he becomes great in the ana of history.
For a nation to be truly great, it must first identify her national values, enumerate her virtues and formulate her value system. But the most tasking of all these is to develop a culture in her people, that will best represent the proclaimed value systems of the nation.
The citizens of the land, the peoples of the nation must be made strong in their convictions of these values. These values and virtues must become the wealth of the people, they must become their pride. They must be reflected in their lifestyle, in their film and movie industries. This value system must be ingrained in their educational system. They must be proclaimed in their pulpits. Homes and families must be built on the wealth of these virtues.
That is what is meant by a nation’s wealth of virtues. For a nation to be truly wealthy, it must possess a wealth of virtues. This wealth of virtue is reflected in how individual citizens are committed to living out the virtues. The percentage of the citizenry that embrace and identify with the nation’s virtues, with the nation’s value system, determine the true wealth of that nation. If a vast majority of the population identify and embrace the nation’s value system, then that nation is automatically great. Because they will live out these values in their daily life.
For example, the citizens will live out the value of diligence in their enterprises. They will live out the value of prudence in their finances. They will live out the value of industry in the economy. They will live out the value of love in their neighborhood. They will live out the value of dignity of labor in the market place, etc. All these will go a long way into propelling both the economy and political life of a nation to the greatest height possible.
Another very telling quotation from Benjamin Franklin will help you dear readers to better understand the importance of virtues in building great men and great nations.
“We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we have selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make. Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by this providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who hold in reverence that being who gave them life and worship Him through adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving will make choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe in a future state in which all that is wrong here will be made right will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not. Since the foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly, and since correct action is dependent on correct opinion, we cannot be too careful in choosing the value system we allow to govern our thoughts and actions. And to know that God governs in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayers, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, is, indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct.”―Benjamin Franklin,
People in every nation behave and respond according to the values and virtues upon which they were raised. We all are a product of our environment. The ambiance of every environment in a country is the value system of the given nation. It is that culture that influences how citizens of a nation react, respond and behave among themselves in regards to politics, commerce, family and social life.
Their decisions either in matters of private business or political life of the nation, are directly related to the prevailing value system of the nation. So if a country complains that they don’t have good leaders, those leaders are only as a result of the prevailing value system that every citizen of that country has been exposed to.
•Sunday Adelaja is a Nigerian born leader, Transformation Strategist, Pastor and innovator who lives in Kieve Ukraine. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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