Mr. Franklin’s Advice 288 Years Later


As I mentioned in an earlier post, our family enjoyed visiting the East Coast during the holidays. One of the highlights of the trip was when John and I toured the city of Philadelphia for a day.


What a beautiful and historic city!

Wandering around for a while, we found ourselves heading down an alley to the Ben Franklin Museum. The collection of items and stories about him was so impressive that I forgot to take pictures! (But you can see some photos of the museum here.)

Just before our trip, I happened upon an interesting article on Mr. Franklin’s writing schedule. At the museum, I found the very same quote that inspired me.






“What Good Have I Done Today?”

At the end of each day, he would take some time for self-reflection and ask himself this question.

This thought has been a personal challenge for me recently. Many an evening would strike fear in my heart as my husband would come home and ask innocently, “What did you do today, honey?” Spending most of my time writing, reading and studying, I had nothing practical to show for the hours he had been gone.

My struggle with being disabled has revealed a flaw in my thinking. For many years now, I searched for my identity in being productive, in what I could accomplish each day. It feels good to prove that you have spent every last bit of strength achieving something.

But I do not think this is what Mr. Franklin is asking here.

When I read this sentence, I hear the stress being placed on the word good“. When read that way, the question is not asking what you have accomplished, but what good has been done.

Any person can be productive. (And yes, even accomplishing something each day can be significant, right, my dear disabled friends?) But the significance is not in the accomplishing. The significance is in the good that comes from what is accomplished.

What do you see in your reflection?

Impressed with the many inventions and contributions Mr. Franklin brought to our world, I took to the task of reflecting each night as well. When I stop and think of my day, I don’t think of the things I did (or didn’t) do.

I think of the good that came through me. This brings a smile to my face and ideas flow easily as I write.

Doing this opens my eyes to many things that go beyond what you can put on a To-Do List. The many things more valuable than my own strength.

How about you? What would be on your list? I would love to hear your thoughts and questions. Feel free to use the comment section below to join the conversation.

One thought on “Mr. Franklin’s Advice 288 Years Later

  1. Catherine Schuerman says:

    Though I have always done a self-review at the end of the day, only recently have I changed the qualifications of what makes it a “good day” from what I “got done” to include harder to measure indicators like “praying, reading for pleasure, day dreaming, self-care, having important conversations” and such things. This is a healthy change for me.

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