There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.  He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.  The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.  He said, “You have done well, my son, 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 man 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.

vie email from Chris Walsh, Mon, 29 Aug 2005 12:40:45 -0700


Anger is usually the flipside of helplessness.

Eliana Gil

Sustained anger can erode our insides and keep us trapped in pain and frustration.  Anger that gets no relief, that cannot find a resolution, may be a signal that we are feeling powerless.  Rather than hounding the object of our anger, we may need to look at the limits of our power.  Admitting our powerlessness is the first step to getting some power back.

Hurt by a neighbor’s sarcastic comment we may be angry because we didn’t immediately react.  Maybe we’re frustrated and angry at our powerlessness to direct our children along the path we think would be “good for them.”  Work, when it isn’t going our way, can make us feel angry, powerless, and ineffective.

We all need to feel our personal power.  Trapped in anger, we may not realize that we are really reacting to feelings of helplessness and loss of control.  Anger can point to those feelings that we wouldn’t see without it.  Identifying and accepting our powerlessness can ease our frustration enough so we can step back and take stock of the real problem.  With distance we can ask for help in solving it.  We can find a way out of the anger maze.

Today, let me take a closer look at my anger and feelings of powerlessness.  Give me the courage to grieve my losses so I can move on.

Seasons of the Spirit by Sally Coleman & Maria Porter, @copy; 1994 by Hazelden Foundation.

Man!  I am all over the thing about children and work today.  Work sucks, and I have a 15-year-old.  How much more fun and powerlessness do I need; although I think fear and dissapointment is just as much a contributor to anger as helplessness.