Which Are You?

Which Are You?
I watched them tear a building down;
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a mighty heave and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.

I said to the foremen, “Are these men as skilled
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just a common laborer is all I need.
And I can wreck in a day of two
What it took the builder a year to do.”

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
“Just which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with skill and care
Building others up by the rule and square,
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?”


So…what do you think of this poem?  Good or not?  Is this a good reminder to be a “builder”?

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    • Edgar
    • August 17, 2009

    Indeed it takes few hours to break what was built in years. This has really reminded me to continue building others. I always look for opportunities to build others.
    Continue with the good work of inspiring people. God bless you

  1. Reply

    Thanks, Edgar.

    Yeah, it’s too easy to tear people down. It takes a lot more strength to be nice!


    • Lee
    • March 16, 2010

    I believe everything on this earth is special in some way, it serves a purpose, a need a want; weather it is only for a short time or becomes heritage listed to forever be. Thank goodness for history, we can look back and view what existed long ago.

    I often wonder when things become obsolete, no longer any need, they get thrown away, torn down, to most people it holds no meaningful existence.

    There are some that care, those whose plan came to be in existence with hard work, foresight, maybe it was a dream to be fulfilled, a need for others, many lives that evolved within the project and then filled it with memories.

    I wonder about all the children stories that stared, “Once Upon a Time”, a great opening line don’t you think, smile!

    I wrote my book of poems for my grandchildren so they may know me and their great grandparents and their great uncle. Just a little history lesson in poetic form so when I no longer exist a small part of me will still be around.

    So easy to be forgotten its worth when things are torn down.

    Wishing you a wonderful day.

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Lee. Great comments lately! About your book of poems…did you ever sell it or distribute it on a larger scale than only to your family?

    • Jessie Camarillo-Wendroth
    • March 17, 2010

    Well starting a construction company building Eco-friendly homes, all I will be doing is building things, and I truly believe wholeheartedly that we are here to build one another up, and never tear down. It is sometimes easier to tear down than it is to build up, but just stay focused on the good, and we will all have good coming into our lives daily.

    Thank you for such an inspiring poem, and God Bless,

    Jessie CW

    1. Reply

      Thanks Jessie. Do you have a website I can check out? I like reading about eco-friendly topics.

    • raymond
    • March 17, 2010

    if you read between the lines you come up with,politician !.

    • Tammy
    • March 17, 2010

    I really like this poem. I forwarded this to some people I know because they will wreck things so quickly but will not take that same effort to build it up. Keep up the good work.

    • nathi mzila
    • March 18, 2010

    it is inspiring to read through the poem. Indeed It is easy to lit fire that putting it off.

    • Laurie Vowels
    • March 19, 2010

    I love this poem. I think I can say I’m a builder, I am bothered by people who tear others down. I like the quote “Be kind, everyone has a burden” don’t know who wrote it though.

      • March 27, 2011

      I OPERATE A TEA ROOM. I WANT OUR CONVERSATIONS TO BUILD RATHER THAT TARE DOWN. This will be placed where all can see and nothing needs to be said. Thank YOU.

    • poonam
    • May 17, 2011

    Its really a nice poem no one thing so deeply…Good Job

    • Jimmye
    • May 17, 2011

    I love this poem. What a great way for us to look at ourselves and tell if we are indeed encouraging and building up others or tearing them down!! I have posted it in my office and have given it to my children to read. I think my daughter is going to read it during her Validictorian speech for highschool as a reminder to all her peers that they should indeed look at themselves and figure this one out.

    1. Reply

      Awesome! I love it. Paying it forward, in a way. Thanks for sharing.

    • Linda
    • May 17, 2011

    I found this to be a very meaningful poem. Its sad that so many people do find it much easier to tear down than to build up. Perhaps if we all would build our children up instead of tear them down they would have a much stronger foundation on which to grow.

    • doreen
    • May 18, 2011

    To me this is a reminder. Thanks Shawn. I pray God gives me the grace to build and not tear down.

    • laura
    • May 18, 2011

    this is a really beautiful, i sincerely try to be a builder not a wrecker especially where words are concerned. words cause so much havoc in people’s lives it is amazing. so i try daily to use my tongue positively.

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