Saving Sandcastles: Determining Worthwhile Endeavors

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One Family’s Day in the Sun

Not too long ago, in between surfing lessons, I sat in my beach chair, flanked by my two daughters enjoying a Sunday afternoon.  The day had started off a bit foggy but by midday, the heat quickly erased the memory of our cooler morning.  The sounds of delighted children squealing and mothers’ seagull-like beckoning filled the air as too-many beachgoers surrounded us.  We were relaxed and took note of the unique variety of people that had converged upon our chosen “beach blanket” space.

Camped right in front of us, a young family had gathered to take advantage of a beautiful seaside afternoon.  They sat much closer to the water than we.  A father, a mother, a little boy and an even littler girl were all dressed for a day in the park, but not for water play – as is often case for visitors to our local beaches.  Nonetheless, they proceeded with their afternoon activities, most important of all?  Building sandcastles.  The father intently filled buckets with wet sand and turned them gently to increase the perimeter of their young  kingdom.  The mother worked hard to keep the boy at bay, foiling his numerous attempts to squash the father’s efforts.  The little girl ran back and forth, filling her bucket with water and dumping it in front of her father.  It was a concerted family attempt to create (and save) the sand village – a place filled with sunshine and imagination.  And I must confess – as a mother of four, it was delightful to watch.

Attack! The tide was on the rise.

Our beach was long and flat, so any rising was duly noted immediately.  Shortly after the majority of the precious sand village had been built, a wall of water seemed to come out of nowhere.  We watched it, as if in slow motion, make its way to the kingdom.  The small family saw it too.  The mother grabbed both kids arms and the father threw himself down lengthwise in front of their sand art and, using his body, virtually stopped the flow of destructive water, protecting and saving the village.  That is, until a few minutes later, when the next wall made its attack.  We applauded his effort and commented on the valiance.

They had built only a temporary work of art, to be sure, but their desire to save it was incredibly strong.  It was, indeed, sad to see when the last tower was finally washed away.

Destined for failure?

How often do we put too much effort into a project destined to fail and not enough into the tried and true?  We see so many around us:  colleagues, family members, friends, and even our competition get caught up in the new and shiny objects offered by the latest and greatest technology or the quickest-growing social media plaything.

What IS a worthwhile pursuit?

Some of these distractions may end up being a worthwhile pursuit or a worthwhile endeavor, but most are just an effort for a temporary shelter – a sandcastle, the latest time-investment that crosses our paths.  Being able to decipher and discern in which to invest time & effort can become a full-time job in and of itself.

And it isn’t easy.

Should I get into gamification?  Should I join this new network or build my community – again?  Should I demo this product?  Should I get in on the beta testing for that one? Do I get behind this investment?  Do I let go of that losing one?  Do I stop wasting my time or my money?  What about my company’s money?  And my company’s time?

We each have to decide for ourselves which sand castles to build and which to save.
Well place your valiance.  The rewards will surprise you.


by Rayanne Thorn



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  1. I love how you always make your posts so relatable, it makes reading them a pleasure. Especially cool when it comes to a touchy topic like this. No one ever wants to kill there darlings!


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