Today, I thought I would share the story about a little boy and a fence. He reminded me of myself when I get impatient with my parents sometimes. The simplicity of the story drives home a core message, read on to see what it is:
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.”
Words have the power to hurt as well as to heal. The thing about words is, once said, they cannot be unsaid. My favourite reminder to myself is that when emotions are high, intelligence is low. So, next time, when you are in a state of anger, take a 30-minute break and step away from the situation. Return to address the issue at hand after you’ve calmed down and are able to think better. That will save a lot of nails and holes in the fence.