Friday, October 27, 2006

Ben Franklin was from the future

“Ben Franklin was from the future,” states a comical theorist as he reflects on the advancements of Mr. Franklin. The conversation arose as we discussed Franklin and his inventions and political involvement. Franklin, the inventor of bifocals, a glass harmonica, a rocking chair that swatted flies, and a heating stove, also traveled to France to woo them to assist the colonies in the Revolutionary War.

Franklin’s influence marks us even this every day. In 1784, Ben Franklin suggested an idea called Daylight Savings Time. Because winter months bring less hours of daylight, Franklin proposed turning clocks back one hour to gain more sunlight. This should increase hours of production for everyone. According to the very words of Franklin, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

Our country did not rally behind Franklin’s idea until after World War I. Some sporadic states across the nation, however, decided to turn their clocks back. After much confusion for the Department of Transportation, railways, and a growing television industry, leaders decided that our country should be consistent in the time change.

How can we persuade everyone to make a small change?

Daylight Savings Time actually is quite revolutionary. Most of the planet takes a moment to change time literally as they adjust their clocks before heading off to bed. That small act of change causes entire cities, states, and even nations to move at a new pace. Humanity in those places changes together.

My uncle, Doss, raises mules on his farm. We were discussing Daylight Savings Time at dinner. My trivia question concerning which states did not observe DST led to his agricultural comments on the idea. According to my uncle, farmers have a difficult time with the time change. The cows do not turn their clocks back! Milk production must sacrifice an hour if the farmers observe the new time change. It takes months for the cows to adjust.

Small changes made by a large population lead have global effects. If someone decided to protest DST, then he or she would be late to everything until an adjustment is made. The decision of the masses wins. What would happen if the masses decided to use their monumental influence for other kinds of change?

Imagine everyone that adjusts their alarm clocks and watches tonight took one dollar and donated it to the poor first thing in the morning. Billions of dollars would be given away. What if those billions of people stopped and turned their clocks back, said a prayer, and forgave one person before falling asleep? The social and spiritual climate of our world would change.

Jesus tells about people who were left with decisions concerning loving their neighbor or continuing to observe the cultural laws of the land. Along the way, someone decides to make changes, universal adjustments that would change everything. The Good Samaritan stopped and helped the wounded man. The prodigal father celebrates the return of a sinful, lost son. The man throws a party and invites the poor to celebrate with him. May our lives reflect the people who stopped everything to do good. Today, as time is given back, we should use that time to change a life.

Turning our clocks back one hour offers each of us one more hour today. Make that hour count. Everyone complains incessantly about not having enough time. Now, the universe handed you an hour. Use it wisely because you will have to give it back in the Spring.


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