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Self-Control - Nails in the Fence - Story

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Self-Control - Nails in the Fence - Story
« on: February 05, 2013, 09:45:04 AM »
VALUES:  Self-control; Forgiveness

STORY:    Once upon a time there was this boy who had a very bad temper. He became cross for very little reason and often said ugly and hurtful things to others when he was angry. His father decided to help him control his anger. He gave his son a bag of long nails and told him to hammer one nail into the wooden fence around the house every time he lost his temper.

On the first day, the boy had to hammer six nails into the fence but, during the next few weeks, the number of nails in the fence became fewer and fewer. Eventually the day arrived when he turned proudly to his dad and told him that a whole day had gone by and he had not had to hammer a nail into the fence. His father was very happy and then said, “Now, son, pull one nail out of the fence for each day that you do not lose your temper.”

Again, a few weeks passed and, finally, the boy was able to tell his dad that all the nails were out of the fence. His father took him by the hand, led him back to the fence and said: “You’ve done very well my son, but look carefully at the fence. Can you see all the scars left in the fence by the nails? The fence will never be the same again.

“When you say something ugly or unkind to someone, your words leave a scar on that person, just like the holes in this fence. It doesn’t matter how many times you say you are sorry, you cannot really fix your unkindness. So, think before you speak and, if you cannot say something good or kind, then rather don’t say anything at all!”


The value is self-control is about being able to control your emotions, wants and actions. It is also about being able to wait for things. It is a very useful value to live by, as it stops us from hurting others and often protects us from getting into dangerous situations.

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