The Fence: Taming our Tempers, Finding Forgiveness and Changing Our World one Nail at a time
The following story came across my “inbox” this week and after having read it multiple times I felt compelled to share it this week.
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 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. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later. ~Author Unknown
As I sat reading this numerous time in the past several days, I was reminded that no amount of apologizing can ever take away the unkind, hurtful things we say and do to one another. As a parent we often find ourselves at wits end with our children and lash out in anger only to regret it moments later. Having done this more times than I wish to admit I know that those words are like toothpaste in a tube; once out they can never be put back in. The damage is done. The hurt can be forgiven but the memory will remain.
A social media friend posted about the importance of forgiveness and how it (forgiveness) is really more about the forgiver than the forgiven. When we hold onto grudges, anger, hurt and shame we are allowing ourselves to be controlled. By forgiving we are freeing ourselves up letting go of whatever it is that was done to us; we are giving it back to the offender. As difficult as it is to let go of the hurt we must find a way not only to let go but to move on. I wonder if we put ourselves in the other person’s proverbial shoes for a moment we may be able to understand why he/she behaved in a hurtful way. Contending, however, that understanding others behaviors is not necessary to forgive. Quite often we may never know the reason behind someone’s behavior, however, we must still try to find the ability to forgive.
Imagine if we were able to hold onto our temper and not release anger toward others. What if we were able to drive nails into our own fence instead of throwing daggers of anger at those around us? Having the ability to control our tempers would decrease the number of times we would have to apologize and the number of times we would need to be forgiven. I encourage you to find your own fence, whether an actual one or something else that will allow you avoid hurting others with your words and actions. By watching our own actions and thinking before we speak we have the power to change our relationships with others and with ourselves. Find your fence, get your nails and hammer the bad stuff away.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!