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.

Author Unknown, found online at Inspiration


Carole R.
Carole R2 years ago

What a wonderful lesson.

Rose R.
Rose R2 years ago

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

Past Member 3 years ago

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"

Past Member 3 years ago

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"

Hent Catalina-Maria


Uplifting-chang H.

Wonderful article!

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby5 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago

great post

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago


Viki V.
Viki A5 years ago

thank you.