In The Way

Postcards from Guatemala

I´m in the process of reading Ben Franklin´s Autobiography. Compared to the last book I read, The Lord of the Flies, Franklin´s peace holds a much more optimistic view towards life and humanity.
He discusses the benefits of personal virtue and discipline, and warns against the dangers of pride.
He includes a list of virtues he tries towards becoming moral, and without flaws. While realizing this is incredibly difficult, morality is a goal we can at least attempt to hold.

Here it is:

“1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”
With this list he keeps a checklist of how well he is doing on things, and makes a daily tally of when he failed on different circumstances. For example, if he were to eat a GIANT banana split from The Parlor in Jackson, Michigan, by himself, he would probably be violating the rule of Temperance.
I am working on his goal of Resolution. I have resolved to send out 22 postcards from Guatemala to people back home.

They might look something like this:

It will look something like this!

Here´s where you come into play.

E-mail me your addresss at davidshinabarger@gmail.com , Facebook message me, comment on the blog, tweet, whatever. If you send me your adress, I will send you a postcard from Guatemala.

Maybe this will become a Birthday tradition.
So please, write me.

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5 thoughts on “Postcards from Guatemala

  1. Just putting in a word of support for your postcard project! I did something similar during my year abroad and sent out something like 50 postcards… had a blast doing it. Keep it up 🙂

  2. Funny! I’m teaching my American Literature class “Ben Franklin” for their next assignment. Thanks for your thought … I’ll be using some of them in my class notes!!!

  3. I remember reading these in a high school English class. Also, wasn’t it he that listed humility, then said as soon as he got to that one, he’d have to start all over, since, once accomplishing the others, he felt tempted with pride?!

    • Yeah, something like that. Actually, I think he started with the list without humility on the list, and then added it because he was feeling so good about himself for mastering the other list, and felt prideful!

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