Nails in the Fence
There once was a little girl who had a bad temper. Her mother gave her a bag of nails, and told her that every time she lost her temper, she must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the girl had driven 37 nails into the fence.
Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails she hammered into the fence each day gradually dwindled.
She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than it was to drive the nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the girl didn't lose her temper at all, and she went to find her mother...
When she proudly told her mother that she was able to control her anger, and didn't need to hammer any more nails into the fence, her mother suggested that she now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper.
The days passed and the girl was finally able to go back to her mother and tell her that she had pulled out all the nails from the fence.
The mother took her daughter by the hand and together they went to the fence.
She said, “You have done well, my daughter, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same again. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these ones that have been left by the nails. You can put a knife in someone and draw it out. But it won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
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