A Nail in the Heart

Here is one of my favorite stories:

Once there was a young boy who developed the habit of always saying nasty, hurtful things to the people who were closest to him.

Eventually it became so painful to be with him, that his mother made a plan to change his habit.

She told him that for each and every day he said something nasty, he had to put a big nail into the beautiful white picket fence that surrounded their backyard. He had to continue this until he could go a whole day without saying something nasty and hurtful.

If he could do that, he could pull out one of the nails he had put into their beautiful fence.

In the beginning, he put a nail in their beautiful fence every day. Soon the whole fence was almost filled up with nails. The once beautiful fence began to look so ugly that young boy started to feel ashamed of himself. Eventually, he decided not to put any more nails in the fence.

With some effort on his part, he soon began to pull one nail out every few days. Soon, he was pulling out a nail every other day. Eventually, he stopped putting in new nails and was only pulling nails out.

After a few months, to his surprise, all the nails were gone!

He was so excited, he ran to get his mother so he could show her there were no more nails in their beautiful fence.

When his mother saw the fence, she said: I am so proud of you. You have not said anything nasty or hurtful for a long time. Now, you must make sure not to put any more nails in our fence.

There is one more lesson I need to give you:

Look at our fence. It is no longer beautiful. There is a hole in it in every spot you pulled out a nail.

The same thing happens when you say something nasty and hurtful to someone who loves you. Your words will pierce the heart of the person you said them to. That hole in their heart will remain there long after the words have been said.

It is much better not to put the hole in their heart in the first place than to have to try and fill it in after their heart has already been damaged.