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Sunday, January 29, 2006
There once was a little girl who had a bad temper. 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 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 loose her temper at all. She told her mother about it and the 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 daughter, 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 a person and draw it out. 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.

There are socially acceptable ways of displaying anger, such as throwing darts, hitting a punching bag, playing competitive sports or cleaning house. They become a form of release. Anger when released in an unacceptable manner can create barriers of fear and intimidation in relationships, can result in the sowing of long-lasting hurts, and can negatively affect the health of the person.

That is why we should never let our anger take hold of us. Learn to turn it into aggressive action. Tim LaHaye suggests the following:
1. Get more information. Information can change thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes what is perceived or assumed is not really happening at all.
2. Open your memory file. Hurt and anger from past experiences can continue to affect you now. Identify these. Don't let them trigger you.
3. Evaluate. Are there common times, people, or associations that "trigger" your outbursts? If so, learn to avoid or be careful in these situations.
4. Face your anger. Trying to justify it, explain it, or blame someone else makes you incurable. You are responsible for your actions.
5. Express it sooner. Don't let negative feelings fester. Get over situations sooner. Express yourself before anger takes hold.
6. Think positively. The mind must dwell on something, so feed it positive emotional food.
7. Recognize displaced anger. Most of the time people are angry about one thing but take out their anger on others who are not connected to it. Discover the real root cause of your anger.
8. Confess and repent. When you do "lose it," ask forgiveness of the people involved and of God.

He therefore concludes, "Anger is a habit...that can control a person as tenaciously as heroin or cocaine making them react inwardly and outwardly in a selfish manner."
3:30 PM | Permalink |


  • At 1/28/2006 11:46 PM, Blogger ribbiticus

    excellent post! now if i can only be more like the little girl, my world will be perfect...:)

  • At 1/28/2006 11:55 PM, Blogger Plain Jane

    What a lovely example that story provides. Thank you for sharing! :)

  • At 1/29/2006 12:14 AM, Blogger ~A~

    Very nice. I'll have to add that to my files for Girl Scouts.

    I have a couple other stories/exercises I use with them when things start getting a little too girl-mean.

    One for the younger girls is that I give them a heart to color. Then we think of things that hurt us or we do to hurt other people, and every time we think of something we make a crumple in the heart.

    Next we start to fix the heart but trying to smooth all the wrinkles out. Once they realize they can't then I tell them that when we say or do hurtful things to others it crumples their heart, even if we go back and say we're sorry the wrinkle is still there. So it's best to try and not be hurtful in the beginning.

    Michele sent me BTW. :)

  • At 1/29/2006 3:56 AM, Blogger Carmi

    Wonderful sentiment in this. I'm going to read it to my children.

    I like your blog, BTW. Found it via Michele's, but I'll be back to read more. I hope you'll keep writing, and will consider taking the time to visit my site as well.

  • At 1/29/2006 12:07 PM, Blogger Trinity13

    I love Tim LaHaye! What a wonderful writer.

  • At 1/29/2006 3:02 PM, Blogger Connie and Rob

    That is such an important message in such a lovely story. These are the things that stay with you day in and day out to help us in our relationships.


  • At 1/29/2006 8:20 PM, Blogger LadyBugCrossing

    Michele sent me. Love your post! It really says it all.
    Let us know how your friend is doing.

  • At 1/29/2006 9:00 PM, Blogger srp

    Hope your friend came through her surgery ok. This is a wonderful post about anger, something very practical for us all.

    BTW, here from Michele but will be back. The Florida Grandma story was hysterical. I'm taking it to my father's Sunday School class today. He teaches the older folks and they always love a good old fashioned hymn and a good laugh.

  • At 1/29/2006 9:37 PM, Blogger rashbre

    Great nail post. We still need outlet for emotion so nothing else snaps.

    Here via Michele's first time!

    Will take a look around.


  • At 1/29/2006 10:23 PM, Blogger utenzi

    Michele sent me, ViaMarie.

    Cute story but not very realistic. That hot tempered girl might learn to hold her temper from nailing the fence. However taking nails back out is a lot harder than hammering them in and so I suspect she'd lose her temper again.

    And then she'd backslide and put more nails in rather than taking any more out. That would be one very nail riddled fence before long. Just a theory...

  • At 1/29/2006 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Here from Michele's... well done... keep up the positive things you post.


  • At 1/29/2006 11:18 PM, Anonymous Claire

    I completely agree, having had problems with anger management in the past I'm the first to stand up and say you can learn to control and work past your temper. There are times I still lose my temper but it's nothing compared to what it used to be and it's much more infrequent!

  • At 1/29/2006 11:49 PM, Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD

    I for one am quick to anger but I know that people who fly into a rage always make a bad
    landing. Anger rarely has a positive outcome in your own life or especially in the lives of those around you. Learn how to diffuse it because anger is like a stone thrown at a wasp's nest. I have learned that swallowing angry words before you say them is better than having to eat them afterwards and never to answer a letter while you are angry.
    By the way I'm inviting you to add yourself on my Frappr map located at the right side of my blog.

  • At 1/30/2006 4:04 PM, Blogger Chrixean

    i can't agree more.... :-)

  • At 2/01/2006 3:03 AM, Blogger Crazy MomCat

    As the parent in our family who has the shortest fuse, this really got my attention. I have heard that story before, years ago. But, now that I have a six year old and a rapidly approaching terrible two, I think I need to really pass that one along to my kids.

    The older I get, the more mellow I get. I'm not a hot-head, but I do let my anger get the best of me sometimes and I get snippy or shout unnecessarily. It is just not worth it though in the end...nothing is worth the damage harsh words said in anger can do.

  • At 2/01/2006 7:14 AM, Blogger Shane

    Wendy sent me. Nice post. I'm glad I don't have a fence ;)

  • At 2/01/2006 8:58 AM, Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD

    I am tagging you.