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Benjamin Franklin and the 12 foot spoons
Below is a free sample from "Benjamin Franklin's Secrets to Success GR Workbook".
It's a short allegorical story (a few paragraphs) that demonstrates a basic premise of one of the general goals of this book. Everyone seems to love and relate to it.
We only publish the one book at this time (although a book on raising positive children easily is in the works). I mention that because I don't want you to think the below excerpt is really all there is to it.
Using Franklin's own concepts for personal development and working towards perfection, the book provides many methods and affirmations for self-improvement of all kinds, covering nearly all topics and problems that people want or need to deal with in their lives.
Back to the story - it goes something like this: There's this man who dies, and is shown a kind of "heaven and hell" scenario, yet the two different places are exactly the same, while at the same time, totally different. Yet they aren't just places you can go after you die, like the concept of heaven or hell. It's about two different places we can LIVE right now, and how we can experience life totally differently with a different attitude and perspective. Confused? Intrigued? Good. Here goes:
There was a man who died and was being taken to heaven by angels. But first, they wanted to show him hell (just for the hell of it I guess).
The angels then took him to a place where there was a great bowl, so great that it was as big as a lake. The bowl was filled with a nutritious stew. All the way around the sides of this bowl were people. Emaciated, starving, miserable people. These people had spoons to eat the stew with, that were long enough to reach it from the shore (about 12 feet). The trouble was, while they could scoop up the stew into the spoon, they could not get it into their mouths because the spoons were so long the stew would fall off before they could get it to their mouths. So here were all these pathetic people, suffering and moaning in agony, constantly trying to eat the food that was abundantly in front of them - all in vain. Next, the angels took the man to heaven. To his surprise, he saw the same scene! There it was, a giant lake-like bowl of the same stew, surrounded by people with 12 foot long spoons. Yet something was different here - all these people were smiling, happy, and healthy looking!
"Why? What is the difference here that these people are happy and well fed?", the man said to the angels.
They replied, "Have you not eyes to see?". The man looked more carefully, and observed that one person would scoop up the stew, and bring it to the mouth of another. Then someone else would scoop up stew and feed it to the other.
The angels smiled and said, "Here the people feed each other. Here are the people that learned the way of Love."
The above story uses a striking allegorical fantasy to clearly illustrate a fundamental difference between a world of people who are looking out for themselves first, and a world of people who make caring for others their first priority. That’s what Benjamin Franklin's moral/virtue perfection project (also known as "the Art of Virtue"). Essentially, the story exemplifies living by the Golden Rule, or not living by it, in a nutshell.
But it’s more than just a story. It truly represents the real difference that living that way could make - both for ourselves, and in our world. It shows us what tolerance and caring for others first, does. And even if you cannot change the world so profoundly, it still represents what kind of a world we can eventually live in if we live by Franklin's code of self-improvement/the golden rule, and make ourselves deserving citizens of paradise.
So how do we go about making the changeover to being the kind of person that belongs in place where everyone care-takes each other? Or at least start bringing it about in our life and those we live and deal with daily? We start with ourselves.
When most people think of making their lives better or changing the world, they think about the flaws other people have and want to change them. But we can only offer others opportunities to change WE CAN'T CHANGE ANYONE ELSE. The only person we can be sure of changing, is our self. That is so important of a fundamental concept to understand.
It can only start with me (and you). We can only change our self. But just by doing that, you'll find that your whole life will change around you. You can have and be a truly "good neighbor", a good friend, and have great relationships with everyone who wants to do the same, if you start with yourself.
What's the golden rule and what does it have to do with me and life? The answers found by Ben Franklin's quotes & biography.