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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Which Are You, a Builder or a Breaker???

I heard this poem years ago and happened to stumble across it while reading this evening - it poses a provocative question for us all.

I saw them tearing a building down,
A group of men in a busy town,
With hefty blow and lusty yell,
They swung with zest,
And a side wall fell.
Asked of the foreman,
"Are these men skilled?
The kind you would hire if you had to build?"
He looked at me, and laughed, "No, indeed!
Unskilled labor is all I need.
Why, they can wreck in a day or two,
What it has taken builders years to do."
I asked myself, as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder with rule and square,
Measuring and constructing with skill and care?
Or am I the wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the business of tearing down?
-Author Unknown

I regret that I've played both roles in my life, but I strive to walk the path of a builder now. How about you?


  1. I got chills. That is a powerful poem. It rings true, and certainly makes you think. Like you, I probably (Okay no maybe about it) have played both roles at some point or another in this adventure we call life. However, more recently - I have been actively trying to be the builder - and have found that trying to encourage another person truly brings joy and strength to me. Novel concept, that one. Sometimes people get temporary "joy" from tearing someone else down - as it somehow makes them seem higher. But, that "joy" is not joy at all, and will ultimately lead way to things much worse. I know you didn't write the poem, but thanks for sharing it. It is a visual reminder that many people need to keep handy!

  2. @Laura, it really is a profound poem isn't it? The first time I ever heard it was from former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. He was a motivational speaker that a former employer of mine brought in for a corporate event. I hadn't thought about it for years until I came across it last week. Kind of funny how that works....