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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A builder or a wrecker?

While on my mission, I accumulated a lot of talks-on-CD (missionaries are somewhat limited to what they can listen to, and one can only take so much EFY). One of the talks I acquired was John Bytheway's "What are you carrying in your backpack?" talk. If you ever get a chance, listen to it - even though he's addressing preteens and teenagers, his message can apply to all. One of the things he references is this poem:

"I passed one day through a lonely town
And saw men tearing a building down.
With a ho-heave-ho and a husky yell,
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.
I asked the foreman, 'are these men skilled?
The kind you'd hire if you had to build?'
'Oh no,' he chuckled, 'no indeed.
The common laborer is all I need.
Why I can destroy in a day or two
What builders have taken weeks to do,'
I thought to myself as I went on my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care,
Strengthening lives by rule and square.
Shaping my peers to a well-made plan,
Helping them be the best they can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks around
Content with the labor of tearing down?"
--Author Unknown

I try to be a Builder. But it gets hard sometimes, especially when "misery loves company." Have you ever noticed how people almost get mad at you if you don't hop on the bandwagon to their let's-bash-everything-fest? Being a Wrecker certainly seems like the more popular choice. 

It may not be the "in" thing to be, but I want to be a Builder. It makes the world a prettier place.


  1. You always build a smile on my face! I love you!

  2. Good thoughts once again! It is really easy to slide into "wrecker" mode, but it also doesn't take too much effort to go into "builder" mode. I think the hardest part is making the conscious decision - at least for me. "Wrecker" is my default mode a lot of the time, unfortunately. But this morning, I was read Helaman 5:37 and it occurred to me all I had to do was actively LOOK to see miracles in my life and sure enough, I thought of about a dozen that had happened in the last 18 hours. Amazing! So I'm going to try to more actively choose "builder." :)

    By the way, you've always been a builder around me. Thanks for the good example!

  3. Hello Adele,

    Concerning the poem that you have on your website "Builder or Wrecker?".

    This poem was written by my grandfather, Carmelo Benvenga (1913-1989) of Baltimore, Maryland, USA and was first published in 1967 under his pseudonym, Charles Benvegar.

    It was published in the book "Songs of the Free State Bards" a poetry anthology edited by Vincent Godfrey Burns, Poet Laureate of Maryland, and printed by New World Books of Washington D.C. and copyrighted 1967. The poem appears on page 7 of this book and is clearly attributed to my father.

    The original title is simply "The Wreckers".

    Please either add my grandfather's name (i.e. his pseudonym Charles Benvegar) to the poem to attribute him as the author or remove the poem from your website. Failure to do so will result in my father taking legal action against you.

    Risa Benvenga