Living with a virtue

March 7, 2013
In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin published a list of virtues that he felt could make anybody a virtuous and moral person. He described how he tried to live by the virtues and how hard it was to do. Looking at the list of virtues Franklin had published, the virtue of Tranquility seemed to call my name.

I only had the vaguest idea as to what Tranquility meant, or how I was going to conquer it, but I knew I had to become tranquil. Before, it was commonplace for me to get angry over the slightest and most menial things. I would reply sarcastically to people’s questions and slam things when I was angry.

I had to live with this virtue for a week, so at the start of the week we had to be acquainted. I found out a lot about Tranquility, like how it was always calm, cool and collected, no matter the circumstances. I told it that the hardest thing for me to do sometimes was “to be calm,” but Tranquility understood.

Even though I thought I could handle Tranquility, I quickly forgot about it when I became very sarcastic in my Government class. Things did not improve the next day, on Tuesday, when I had a burning desire to destroy my dog. I ignored Tranquility and what it was saying in both instances because my rage caused my mind to go blank, so to speak. In those moments, the only things I thought were “stupid kids” and “stupid dog”.

After the first two days of the week, I sat down with Tranquility and had a long discussion with it. In the end, I promised to do a better job at remembering what it meant and when to remember it. My promise carried through to Wednesday, when I stayed calm throughout the entire day. The next day, however, I almost relapsed into my pre-Tranquility days. I had an urge to yell at my stepmother for something pointless. But Tranquility calmed me down and enabled me to get through the day. Friday and the weekend were both relatively relaxing, so I ended my week with Tranquility on a high note.

Looking back, I’m surprised that I faced so few problems. I expected to be bombarded with challenges to Tranquility, but the past week was very calm. Faced with a low number of problems, I should have had no problem conquering temptations. But yet I let some things get to me. I should have tried harder to remember the virtue.

If I had been able to perfect my relationship with Tranquility, I could have become a more virtuous person. Seeing as though one of my biggest flaws is short-temperedness, being tranquil most (if not all) of the time would have made my personal relationships with classmates, family and neighbors better. Even after this week-long exercise, I will continue to try to perfect Tranquility, in hopes of becoming an overall better person.

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