Friday, September 2, 2011

Tempering the Nails

One of life's most repeated lie:
Sticks and stones may break may bones, but words will never hurt me."

When I was a little girl. My biggest obstacle to learning something new was my temper. I always assumed I got it from my Dad. But when I was grown and asked my dad how her learned to control his temper, he stated he never had trouble with it. Growing up without him in my life, maybe it was just childish frustration that made my temper burn hot and constantly at the surface.

I'm still learning to master that emotion, and I see my son struggling often with the same battle. So when I stumbled across this story, I felt it needed to be marked and remembered. If you have trouble with a short fuse, give this next passage room for change.


There 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 drove 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 loose his temper at all. He told his father. The Father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day he could 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 soon 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. Remember... You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how often you say I'm sorry; the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one."

Remember that when you ask to learn patience, the line before you will get longer... if you ask for understanding, your tasks will become more complex...and if you ask for help controlling your anger, you will be faced with the most annoying situations yet!

Life is a process. Every experience is a situation for change. How you react in each circumstance will affect more than just your outcome. Be gentle with each other and use your anger to fuel positive change and not to tear down others. Just as we are each unique, our tempers and anger are expressed differently as well. It's a constant choice to temper your anger, just be mindful of the ones that look up to you. They will model what they see until they are old enough to choose for themselves.

My quest for a present life brings this subject up often. I am always faced with situations that flare my anger, seeing through it and knowing that the cause is often unrelated has helped me. I hope this story will help someone else. Like the English used to say, "Keep Calm. And Cary On."
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