I have read several books about Ben Franklin. He is certainly a fascinating character but he is generally not one of my favorite founding fathers. He led a pretty pretentious life and was probably one of the original “dirty old men” 😉 But his words above do inspire me. More importantly they help me keep my mouth shut on occasion. On this blog, and in life in general, I seek just the right words to say something, especially something I am passionate about. I often look to say the right thing in the right place.
But in the spur of the moment I often say things that are maybe best left unsaid. Given what I have read about Franklin, he also didn’t do a very good job of taking his own advice. I admit that one of my worst traits is to speak before I think. Maybe that is why I love blogging so much. It allows me to temper my words before they become public and believe it or not most of my posts are tempered.
It seems that many in public life also need to learn this lesson of leaving some things unsaid. I just watched a little of the grilling of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before a Senate committee about the embassy attack of last September that resulted in four deaths. I was amazed how well she kept her cool during the vitriol words from Senators McCain and Paul. Criticism is one thing that has its place but when it is done for primarily political or self-seeking purposes it degrades the speaker.
And then of course there are the marital spats that all of us have from time to time. (I’m not the only one who has them am I?). In the heat of the moment we often say some pretty cruel things to our spouses that should never have left our lips. We all need to learn to let somethings remain unsaid especially with those we love.
Thanks Ben for these inspiring words…..