Vice: a fault, defect, or shortcoming. Synonyms: flaw, blemish, imperfection, foible, weakness. Virtue



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Rewriting Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues

Vice: a fault, defect, or shortcoming. Synonyms: flaw, blemish, imperfection, foible, weakness.

Virtue: a good or admirable quality
Here is a list of Franklin’s Virtues. Read them silently to yourself first.

After you have read them and thought carefully about them, your job is to translate each virtue into teen- friendly language. You may work with one partner. When you are done, we will post these around the room and vote on whose is best. If you need to use a dictionary to figure out what old Ben meant, please do so.

*One hint about this assignment: Look at number 12, which is chastity. Chastity means, “The state or quality of being chaste.” If you then look up chaste, you’ll find that the first definition for this word is, “refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion; virtuous.” Then if you look at Ben’s virtue, he uses the word venery. There are two definitions for venery; one is about hunting and the other is about sex. Which definition do you think is correct?

**One more hint: Decode Ben’s words slowly and ask for help when you need it.



1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Don’t eat yourself into a food coma; don’t get drunk/high and lose your mind.

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

Only say that which is useful to yourself/others; don’t engage in useless talk or petty arguments.


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

Keep your things in their proper places; manage your time well. Prioritize.


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

Plan to do what you should; always do what you plan.

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

Don’t waste your limited resources by spending them in ways that don’t help/benefit you or others.

6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

Don’t waste time; spend it in useful ways. Work efficiently.


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

Don’t gossip or otherwise misrepresent yourself or others. Be honest/authentic. Be understanding and compassionate and fair, think before you speak, and speak out of a proper perspective.

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

Don’t actively hurt people, and don’t hurt others by not doing for them what you should.


9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Have (and act out of) a balanced perspective on things. Don’t overreact when others offend you, and don’t seek the revenge you may think they deserve.


10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

Keep your body, clothes, and environment clean (and germ/disease free).

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

Don’t worry too much about things that don’t really matter, things that happen to everyone, or things that you cannot control/avoid.


12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

Be careful and respectful with your sexuality. It is meant to be enjoyed and to make families, not to make valuable people into food for your appetites. Don’t engage in a way that harms you or others physically, emotionally, or in reputations.


13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Recognize that trying to be perfect and/or have it all figured out WILL humble you. No matter how much you know, there is still way more you don’t know. Be willing to respect others and let them help you.


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