The Too True Story of the Nail in the Fence.

This is a good one.  It hit home for me.  Hopefully you'll like it too.

Nail In The Fence:

Nail in wood 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 back of 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. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there." A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

My Note:

Sometimes I am harsh, and more hurtful than I intend.  Anger and fear cause some of it.  Sometimes it happens because I want to be funny (even at someone's expense).  Other times it happens because I want to help someone — and I choose to be direct — regardless of how they will "feel it" when I deliver the message.

For the most part, I never intend to leave a "hole". This story was a good reminder to be mindful of cause and intent.  Hope it helps.

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  1. wow this is nuts cause i had a really bad temper when i was a kid and i see kids like i was all the time and i wish they really knew

  2. In my experience what often comes out in anger is some suppressed truth. Sometimes its the only way it will come out. So there is often an upside to anger. I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of angry outbursts and I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of heartfelt apologies. Those heartfelt apologies to me have always healed the hurt and have often led to honest and enlightening conversations about the real issues underlying the angry outbursts. Our culture is anger phobic and until we understand and become comfortable with our own anger we will continue to project it onto others and be unable to deal with our own or other’s anger effectively. Anger is a common human emotion. Ignoring it and suppressing it doesn’t diffuse it and doesn’t disarm it. Confront and understand your own anger and then you can work with it as well as the anger of others.

  3. I’m surprised by how true this still is for me, even though I’ve seen it and thought about it so many times. Glad it inspired you too.

  4. When My father died I found a nail in his belongings…I kept it for many years..wondering if he gave me the message so long ago …I should have known.

  5. Brilliant story Howard. We have to always be mindful of our actions towards others, as they leave scars and eventually come back to us somehow.

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