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Huskies News · Lessons for Life – Nails in the Fence

SAVHS Lessons for Life allow our athletes an opportunity to look at athletics in a different light.  Each week a new lesson is introduced to our athletes to promote the development of the whole athlete – in the present and the future.

Nails in the Fence [1]

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”

Once upon a time there was a little boy who was talented, creative, and extremely smart.  He was a natural leader, the kind of person everyone would normally have wanted on their team.  But he was also self-centered and had a very bad temper.  When he got angry, he would say and do some very hurtful things.

As he grew, his parents became very concerned about his bad temper and wondered what to do.  Finally, the father had an idea.  He called his son and gave him a big hammer and a bag of nails. “Whenever you get angry,” he told the boy, “take a nail and drive into that old oak fence as hard as you can.”

The fence was very tough and the hammer was heavy, nevertheless the boy was so angry that during the very first day he had pounded 37 nails into the fence.

Gradually, over a period of weeks, the number of nails was gradually decreasing. After some time, the boy started to understand: holding his temper was easier than driving nails into the fence!

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He felt mighty proud as he told his parents about that accomplishment.   “As a sign of your success,” his father responded, “you get to remove one nail each day that you don’t lose your temper.”

Many weeks passed. At last the boy could be proud of himself as all the nails were gone. When he came to his father and told about this, he offered to come and take a careful look at the fence. “You did a good job, my son, but pay attention to the holes that are left from the nails. The fence will never be the same. The same happens when you say or do hurtful things.  There will always be a scar Remember, we need to treat everyone with care and respect, saying you are sorry will not make the scars disappear.

– – – –

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

In what ways do we make holes in our fences?

When we put holes in another person’s fence – how can we mend that broken fence?

How can we spend our time building bridges rather than barriers in our relationships?

In what ways do we reveal our “real” character?

[1] A product of the SAVHS Athletics Department.  Author of original Nails in the Fence story unknown.