Nails In The Fence
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father was concerned for his son’s future and thought about how he could explain to his son why relationships are so important and controlling his temper is a key factor in this.
After a lot of thought, his father gave him a bag full of nails and told him, “Every time you lose your temper, hammer a nail into the back of the fence.” His son did not understand but knew that his father was wise, so he agreed.
On the first day that the boy received his bag of nails, he ended up driving about 37 nails into the fence. Each day he learned little by little to control his temper. 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 was extremely proud of himself and went to share his good news with his father. His Father was proud of him and offered a challenge to his son. “Why don’t you pull out a nail every day that you are able to hold your temper?”
As there were many nails in the fence, it took the boy sometime to remove the nails from the fence. But eventually that joyous day arrived. He was so pleased with himself, and he wanted to share this with his father.
His father was so proud of his son, but he wanted him to understand that holding his temper was more than just being able to add or remove nails from a fence. He took his son’s hand and showed him all the holes that were left from the nails. “As you see my son, this fence will never be the same, the fence is scarred with holes from your temper. Think of these holes as the words you have spoken in anger, the wounds you have left in people’s lives. Words really are like weapons they leave a wound, that does not heal easily. Son, your family and friends will make you smile and encourage you to succeed, they will lend an ear, share words of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Always remember the fence before you speak words of anger.”
The next time my temper surfaces I will remember this story. I found this short story on the website Inspiration Peak and on Write for God.
If I have wounded any soul today
If I have caused ones foot to go astray
If I have walked in my own willful way
Dear Lord, forgive
first stanza from the song If I Have Wounded Any Soul Today