There once was a small boy who had an ill temper. His father presented him a bag of nails and told him that each time he lost his temper; he must hammer a nail into the fence.
The first day the boy had driven thirty-seven nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to command his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled away. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to force those nails into the fence.
At last the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father advised that the boy now pull out one nail for every day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed by and the young boy was at last 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 stated “you have done well, my son, however 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 are able to 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.
Make certain you control your temper the next time you’re tempted to say something you’ll regret later.
A farmer owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer discovered the mule ‘braying’ — or whatever mules do once they fall into wells.
After cautiously assessing the state of affairs, the farmer felt sorry for the mule, but resolved that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving.
Rather, he called his neighbors together and told them what had occurred and asked them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
At the start, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors proceeded shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him.
It all of a sudden dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he had better shake it off and step up! This is what the old mule did, blow after blow.
“Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself.
Regardless how painful the blows, or distressing the state of affairs appeared, the old mule fought “panic” and simply kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!
You guessed it! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What appeared like it would bury him, actually end up blessing him.
All because of the manner in which he handled his hardship.
Consequences of Reactions
Once upon a time, a child complained to a loving father that life was miserable and that the child didn’t know how they were going to pull through.
The child was sick of battling and struggling all the time. It appeared just as one issue was worked out, a different one shortly followed.
The loving father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled up 3 pots with water and placed each on a high fire. When the 3 pots started to boil, he put potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to the child.
The child groaned and impatiently waited, questioning what he was doing. After several minutes, he switched off the burners.
He took the potatoes out of the pot and put them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and put them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and put it in a cup.
Addressing the child, he asked, “Child, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” the child hastily responded.
“Look closer”, he stated, “and touch the potatoes”. The child did and noticed that they were soft.
He then asked the child to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the child noticed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, he asked the child to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a grin to the child’s face.
“Father, what does this mean?”
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs, and coffee beans had each confronted the same hardship, the boiling water. However, each one responded differently.
The potato went in strong, hard and unforgiving, but in boiling water it got soft and weak. The egg was fragile with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior till it was set in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg got hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unparalleled. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they altered the water and produced something new.
“Which are you?” he asked his child. “When hardship knocks on your door, how do you react? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
In life, things occur around us and things happen to us, but the sole thing that truly matters is what occurs inside us.
Two men, both gravely ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour every afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room’s sole window. The other man had to spend all his time fixed on his back.
The men babbled for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their careers, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on holiday.
And each afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by reporting to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed started to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the action and color of the world outdoors.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while youngsters sailed their model boats.
Young lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city horizon could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in keen detail, the man on the other side of the room would shut his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade going by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the man by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the orderlies to take the body away.
As soon as it appeared appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making a point to see that he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outdoors. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She stated, “Perhaps he just desired to encourage you.”
A 9 year-old boy entered a hotel café and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
“How much is an ice cream sundae?” the little boy inquired.
“One dollar,” said the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and considered the coins he had. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he asked.
By now, more individuals were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing really impatient. “seventy five cents,” she brusquely replied.
The little boy once more counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he stated.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked off.
The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.
When the waitress came back, she started to cry. As she wiped down the table, there placed neatly alongside the empty dish were two dimes and five pennies.
You see, he couldn’t have the sundae as he had to have enough money to leave her a tip.
Be kind as you never realize the thoughts of others.
A man discovered a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a little opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for many hours as the butterfly struggled to squeeze its body through the small hole.
Then it stopped, as though it couldn’t go further. So the man decided to assist the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the leftover bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but it had a bloated body and shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would expand and enlarge enough to support the body.
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste didn’t realize: The restricting cocoon and the battle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was accomplished.
Sometimes struggles are precisely what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstructions would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we may have been and we would never fly.