"We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all." — Eleanor Roosevelt
When I was thirteen years old I attended a lecture by the magician Michael Ammar. Aside from being an incredible performer he is also a wonderful thinker and teacher of magic. Even at my young age I could appreciate what he had to offer, even if I didn’t fully grasp everything he shared with us that day.
In the back of Mr. Ammar’s lecture notes he printed a poem from an unknown author, and this poem has stuck with me ever since:
I saw them tearing a building down—a gang of men, in my hometown.
With a heave, and a ho, and a 'yes, yes!' yell they swung a beam, and a sidewall fell.
I said to the foreman, "Are these men skilled? Like the ones you'd use if you had to build?"
He laughed and said, "Oh, no! Indeed! The most common labor's all I need. Because I can destroy, in a day or two, what it takes a builder ten years to do."
And I thought to myself, as I went my way: Which of these roles am I willing to play?
Am I one, who's tearing down, as I carelessly make my way around?
Or am I one who builds with care? So my family, my community, is just a little better, because I was there.
At thirteen years old I didn’t know what to make of that question, but I carried it with me. And even to this day whenever I find myself committing to something of value I ask myself that important question: do I tear down, or am I a careful builder?
It’s often said that people won’t care about what we have to say or how much we know until they know how much we care. In other words, before we consider asking for a hand, it’s a good idea to first ask for the heart.
Are you a careful builder? Our future is built by the things we do today. Even little things with great care can yield powerful results. Yet, in a similar way, even a small hole can sink a great ship. What are your actions building?
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.