imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

The 37 nails

IN MY EYES

By Edward B. Antonio

 

 

Sometimes, I have this bad temper, fellas.

I probably inherited this trait from my father. But I find no excuses when I have a bad day. It affects me the whole day. When I have a bad day, I sometimes drink a bottle of beer as a downer, but when I read this story, I found out it is a better downer than a bottle of beer.

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 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.”

An unknown writer shares this story of two brothers with bad tempers who were taught by a stranger a neat lesson about life.

Once upon a time two brothers, who lived on adjoining farms, fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a conflict. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s tool box. “I’m looking for a few days’ work” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?” “Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you.”

“Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor; in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better.”

“See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence –an 8-foot fence — so I won’t need to see his place or his face anymore.” The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge — a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all — and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched.

“You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.” The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand.

They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have many more bridges to build.”

Then there’s this story of a couple when a tragedy befell them.

A boy was born to a couple after eleven years of marriage. They were a loving couple and the boy was the apple of their eyes. One morning, when the boy was around two years old, the husband saw a medicine bottle open. He was late for work so he asked the wife to cap the bottle and put it in the cupboard. The mother, preoccupied in the kitchen, totally forgot the matter.

The boy saw the bottle and playfully went to it and, fascinated with its color, drank it all. It happened to be a poisonous medicine meant for adults in small dosages.

 

When the child collapsed, the mother hurried him to the hospital, where he died. The mother was stunned; she was terrified. How would she face her husband?

When the distraught father came to the hospital and saw the dead child, he looked at his wife and uttered just four words.

What do you think those four words were? Did he fly into rage and blamed his wife?

The husband just said, “I Love You Darling”.

The husband’s totally unexpected reaction is proactive behavior. The child is dead. He can never be brought back to life. There is no point in finding fault with the mother. Besides, if only he have taken time to put the bottle away, this would not have happened.

No point in attaching blame. She had also lost her only child. What she needed at that moment was consolation and sympathy from the husband. That is what he gave her.

So when you feel like blowing your top, remember these stories, fellas.

They are worth living by.#