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Nails in the Fence: A Story About Anger

Nails in the Fence: A Story About Anger

The next time you are tempted to say something hurtful to someone just because youíre angry, you might want to stop and remember this story: itís a keeper. Read it here.

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.”

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father.

Read more: Spirit, Inspiration

Author Unknown, found online at Inspiration

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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7:55AM PDT on May 15, 2015

What a wonderful lesson.

4:06AM PDT on May 15, 2015

Illustration through better than talk/reasoning especially with certain ages and situations.

6:25AM PST on Mar 3, 2015

Oh, and I always told my kids I was upset with them but we would talk more later.... please don't "discipline" in anger... that isn't discipline, it's revenge, and it's the wrong message. I usually told my children what they had done, from my perspective, the reason it was wrong... until they acknowledged they understood. Then I had them apologize and right the wrong, adding extra to it, under the premise of "leaving everything you can better than when you arrived"

6:18AM PST on Mar 3, 2015

I remember people doing this sort of thing... and a man who used to take a walk when he was becoming angry, so he wouldn't say something he'd regret... another would go to the gym or play ball... hit a tennis ball against a wall, or play with a basketball.... it's a longer version of "count to ten"

3:25AM PDT on Aug 10, 2014


11:02AM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

Wonderful article!

1:44PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013


11:37PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

great post

5:12AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012


10:00AM PDT on Sep 6, 2012

thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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