Here is a little story I read on-line that started me thinking on the importance of watching what we say to others. Not only is it a great story to share with children, but I think a few adults could benefit from it as well.
A young man was always losing his temper. Finally his mother had enough and told his father something had to be done. The father took the young man out to the back yard and told him, “son, every time you get upset I want you to pound a nail into this fence” Well, the son thought it was ridiculous, but agreed to give it a try. The first day he put six nails into the fence. By the end of the week he was down to three. After two weeks he was happy to report to his father he had not lost his temper one time that day and therefore had not put a single nail into the fence. “That’s great son.” said the father. “but we can’t have all these nails in this fence, so every time you do something kind for someone I want you to remove one nail” Well, merely one week later the son, feeling pretty proud of himself, had all the nails removed. His father stared at the fence with him, but did not seem as happy as the young man had hoped. “What’s wrong dad? I thought you would be proud of me?” asked the young boy. “Son I am proud of you, but remember whenever you lost your temper in anger you pounded a nail into the fence, that represented the hurt you inflicted on that person” “Yes dad, but then I did good things for people and I removed all those nails I put in!” Explained the son. “That’s true son” said the father. “Notice all the holes that were left in the fence. Even though you did good and tried to remove the hurt, a hole or memory of that hurt was still left behind. You need to remember once words are spoken in anger they cannot be unspoken, even by the kindest of deeds”
This story serves a good point. Haven’t we all been guilty of saying things in anger we wish we could take back? Haven’t we even went so far as to apologise to that person and try to make it up to them? I know I have. Think of the fence, however, and the emotional scars we leave behind that can never be forgotten. So let us work on being slow to anger and quick to praise. Once a nail is driven in, even if taken out, the hole will remain.