There once was a little girl who could not control her bad temper. So, 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 daily gradually dwindled down.
She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the girl didn’t lose her temper at all. She told her mother about it and her mother suggested that the girl now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper. The days passed and the young girl was finally able to tell her mother that all the nails were gone.
The mother took her daughter by the hand and led her to the fence. She said, “You have done well, my girl, 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 someone and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the scar will still be there.”
The little girl then understood how powerful her words were. The girl looked up at her mother and said: “I hope you can forgive me for the holes I put in you.”
“Of course I can,” said the mother, “I love you.”