Wednesday, June 22, 2005



Photograph by Ted Lukac

We begin life thinking that time is something solid, something we can measure with clocks and calendars, something we can manage, use, save, waste or master, according to our inclinations. But somewhere along the way, we discover that the endless summer of childhood is a whisper we almost missed, a breeze that disappeared as soon as it arrived for adults.

Thus begins the quest to make time behave as it should--or to "use it wisely," as my elementary teachers used to warn. In parent teacher conferences, they always said I didn't, that I was staring out the window when I was supposed to be learning my time tables. What they didn't understand was the visions I was storing up as I stared into the trees at the edge of the playground, the ragged sky beyond them.

I wonder if those old teachers would be impressed to know I have spent my life trying to heed their advice--though not with much luck. Despite my best efforts to use, manage and master my hours, I remain the child who is caught looking out the window when important lessons are being taught.

Still, I am dazzled and inspired by Ben Franklin--especially for the schedule that was the framework for such an amazing life. When I remember to do so, I ask myself his question in the morning: What good shall I do today? Quickly followed by the writers version: What good shall I write today?

It has yet to turn me into Ben, Jr., but each morning when the sun rises, I get another chance to try again.

Benjamin Franklin's "Scheme of Employment for the Twenty-four Hours of a natural Day"

(From B. Franklin's Autobiography)
The Morning Question,
What Good Shall I do This Day?
5 - 7 Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness;Contrive Day's Business and take the
Resolution of the Day ; prosecute the present Study : and breakfast?

8-12 Work

12-1 Read, or overlook my Account, and dine.

1-6 Work

6-9 Put things in their Places, Supper, Music, or Diversion, or Conversation,
Examination of the Day.

Evening Question: What Good have I done to day ?


Melly said...

Oh my goodness, you touched on such a sticky subject, at least for me.
I always feel as if time flies by, not to mention the seven (or so) age crises I managed to have so far in my life. :)

Still, I also start each day with a plan and a time-table that somehow manages to elude me completely. So I hear you loud and clear.

rdl said...

OMG the picture, it's like looking at a picture of Gabe and Josh at that age only female version.

Sunil said...

This is a very nice blog!

gulnaz said...

that was a nice idea. i shd plan my days.

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