It's Easy to Destroy But Hard to Build

It's Easy to Destroy But Hard to Build

An old Chinese proverb goes something like this: "Any fool can throw a stone down a well, but it takes a wise man to get it out!" Which is one way of saying that anybody can tear down, but it's difficult to build up.

Not many years ago this happened: A small boy of four wanted to ride his older sister's tricycle. He had taken his turn, but he wanted another, and before the others had had their turns.

Because he couldn't have his way, he got very, very peevish and angry. And he plotted revenge, real revenge.

He sat quietly on the ground right near where his sister would ride next. Down the hill she came, pumping the pedals as fast as she could. Suddenly her small brother pulled a stick from behind his back and thrust it through the front wheel spokes.

Tear, crash, pop! And in two seconds the front wheel was ruined forever, half the spokes ripped out. What had been a nice, new tricycle seconds before was now just useless junk. Needless to say, this boy got what he needed.

But no amount of punishment could bring back the tricycle. All the great skill which went into its construction was nothing compared to the angry thrust of one four-year-old boy. All the risk and daring of the coal miners who dug coal to melt the iron going into the tricycle. All the skill of steelworkers, the great experience of men who made the rubber tires, the education of men who designed the machine—its seat, springs, handlebars, wheels, and other parts. This four-year-old kid tore up their work in a split second.

The old nursery rhyme about Humpty Dumpty illustrates this lesson so well. All the king's horses and all the king's men literally can't put an egg back together again.

So many things in this life are hard to build and easy to destroy. For example, reputation and character.

You may work hard to be known as honest and reliable. Yet, somebody can destroy or seriously damage your reputation by a few careless or spiteful remarks. The tongue, if unwisely used, is a most dangerous weapon. Never use it to destroy anybody's character.

Will you be a builder or destroyer in your life?

Will you help build up your church, your school, your scout troop, your community? Or, will you help tear them down by plain laziness or the wrong kind of talk?

The world needs builders. Not only builders of buildings, highways, factories, and bridges, but it also needs character-builders. It needs men and women who'll plan and put up great lives—their own and others.

Make up your mind now. Will you tear down or build up? History's great people are those who built.

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