I hurt a kid when I was a little girl. I had said some ugly things in anger, and it made me feel bad later that day when I was back at home. The girl had been mean first -that was my excuse- but still I didn’t feel good about it. I shouldn’t have said the things I said.
Quickly I made up my mind. I would apologize to her the next day; I went to bed knowing that everything would be alright. I saw the little girl the next day when we worked in the fields. I walked up to her and apologized. She listened to what I had to say, but she didn’t’ accept my apology. “I don’t want to be your friend anymore,” she said, turned around and left me standing there.
I didn’t get that. She was supposed to accept my apology wasn’t she? I mean that’s what apologies are for. You say you are sorry, and everything bad you have done gets magically undone. Well, it didn’t work in this case. She didn’t want to be my friend anymore and I felt heartbroken and didn’t understand. My Grandma told me a story that helped me understand.
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 fence.
The first day the boy had driven 25nails 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.”
I learned that it’s hard to unring a bell that summer when I was just a little girl. I also learned that I am blessed with a temper.
Until this day, I am careful with words and I try not to speak in anger. I turn around and walk away; I either go outside or walk our dogs. Words are a weapon that we shouldn’t underestimate. I like to be heard, I don’t like to hurt.