A Modern Take on Benjamin Franklin’s Advice

Sakerian Morris '20 and students hanging out on South Beach
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” These days we update that language to be more inclusive: “… makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Why exactly am I writing about what Ben Franklin said?

Healthy. It’s October, and in October many high school students and their families feel like their schedule has kicked into high gear: Activities, midterm exams, possibly ACT or SAT testing, and, of course, college applications for seniors. Stay healthy! Eat well. Sleep a lot—more than you think you have time to sleep. Your body needs to refresh for each new day especially during this busy time.

Wealthy. I was raised in a working-class home and I am the first in my family to go to college. We didn’t talk about “wealth management; we talked about living a comfortable life. When the “grownups”—as my 5-year-old would say—tell high school students “where you go to college determines the rest of your life,” it puts undue pressure on students. Adults: Try to back up a little and remember that wealth often follows when a person does something they love. Let’s help students keep this in perspective and tell them about the things we have loved doing and the paths that have led to our own success.

Wise. Adults (including me) often feel we can impart our wisdom onto teenagers. But, if we look back to our own teen years, how much did we actually “appreciate” the advice of our elders? For me, remembering this helps me to be a little quieter around teens. Now, that’s not to say we should stop giving advice altogether, but we should stop to listen to what the teenagers around are saying and respect what they are feeling. They don’t always want to talk, but when they do, let’s be ready to listen.

High school can be challenging. The college search can be challenging. Life can be challenging. But if we all look out for each other, we can be healthy, wealthy (eventually), and wise.