The Fence
unattributed

  

There once was a little boy with a bad temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the back fence rather than take it out on other people.

On the first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence.  As the days went by, though, the number of nails 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, and I'm very proud of you.  But look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  Remember that when you say things in anger, your words leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, and it won't matter how many times you say 'I'm sorry'--the wound is still there.  A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one."

  


 
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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.