Once upon a time, there was a young boy with a very bad temper.
To teach the boy a lesson, his father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper he must hammer a nail into their wooden fence.
On the first day of this lesson, the little boy had driven 26 nails into the fence. That’s how angry he was!
Over the next few weeks, the boy began to control his temper. And so he hammered fewer and fewer nails into the fence.
It wasn’t long before the boy learned it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into that fence.
The day finally came when the boy didn’t lose his temper even once. He was so proud of himself. He couldn’t wait to tell his father.
Pleased, his father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he could hold his temper.
Several weeks went by and soon the boy was able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
Then the father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
“You have done very well, my son,” he smiled. “But look at all the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.”
The little boy listened carefully as his father continued to speak.
“When you say things in anger, they leave permanent scars just like these. And no matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wounds will still be there.”