What are you building?

A long time ago in the city of Rome, there were several hundred men working on a large building.

A little girl, who was very curious, wandered into the building site to see what she could learn. She noticed three men – each carrying a rock the size of a basketball. And being curious, she had to know more about what they were doing.

The first man looked a little tired – even though he was fairly muscular. She asked him,“What are you doing?”, to which he replied “I’m carrying a rock.” That answer didn’t satisfy the little girl, so she asked the second man the same question.

He was as muscular and large as the first – and he too, looked tired. Gasping for breath, he answered “I’m building a wall!”

As you can imagine, that answer wasn’t any better than the first man’s answer, so she walked up to the third man.

The third man was smaller than the first, and quite skinny. But he had a bright smile and seemed to be full of boundless energy.

Very curious, she asked him, “What are you building?”

Without a moments hesitation he answered “I’m building a glorious Cathedral that will last thousands of years! Millions of people from all over the world will visit this place and return to their homes with more faith than ever in their own potential!”

The little girl liked this answer very much, because it seemed to give her a good feeling. A feeling as if she’d been told the most magical secret of life.

What are you building?

3 thoughts on “What are you building?”

  1. I’m building a community of people who donate better by donating together. We don’t just say we want a better world, we’re doing something about it.nnThanks for asking. It was a good exercise to explicitly express that!

      1. Donating together is better because communities are powerful. Specifically, I’m talking about a form of philanthropy called “giving circles”. There are over 800 giving circles in the U.S. donating more than 100 million every year.nnAs a community of donors, we leverage our money, our time, and our expertise.nnLeveraging money: Our pooled donations means we’ll make a bigger impact on that charity, but it also means that each individual is probably donating more than they normally would, because of the community support and structure. In fact, studies of giving circles show exactly this dynamic.nnLeveraging our time: Making smart donations doesn’t just happen but one person with a busy schedule can find it difficult to research charities. It’s difficult, time consuming, confusing, and sometimes overwhelming. But when we share that work among a group of people, no single person has to do it all themselves. nnLeveraging our expertise: We incorporate education into our giving circles so that our understanding of the issues deepen, and we can choose better charities doing better work. nnnnOn top of all this, donating together is more fun, because we’re sharing the experience with people who care about the same issues. nnnWhat do you think?

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