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The Problem With Building Sandcastles


We took a family vacation to the beach a couple of weeks ago and I learned a very powerful lesson from my children… again.

Each day they would go down to the beach and start building a sandcastle. One was better than the next, every day they got bigger and better. But each afternoon as the tide came back in, all their work was destroyed.

As they were building their sandcastles, they would often get frustrated or upset at their littlest brother who took absolute delight in standing on top of one of the walls and watching it come crashing down. This infuriated the other kids, but Simon just squealed with delight.

And I was taught a lesson on that very same beach last year, and the year before that.

We are all building sandcastles. We are all investing inordinate amounts of time, effort, energy, money, and emotion into things that are just like those sandcastles. They will inevitably be destroyed and pass away.

Now on one level there is nothing wrong with that, especially if we get as much joy as children do from building castles in the sand at the beach. The problem is we don’t. Often, we skip right over the joy and live in the frustration of trying to keep something alive that cannot be kept alive because it is by its very nature passing.

The real problem is that we often spend our lives building sandcastles, while neglecting to build all that is good and lasting in this world and the next.

Are you too focused on building sandcastles?

Sandcastles are great, unless that’s all you are doing with your life.


Matthew Kelly


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