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Principal’s Panui – 29 March 2019


There was a little boy (or it could have been a little girl) who had a bad temper and flew off the handle whenever he didn’t get his own way. His sister was scared of him. His parents worried that whatever they did they would set him off. His friends started to avoid him. One day, his father gave him a bag of nails and a hammer and took him out to the wooden fence. He said, “Every time you lose your temper, you have to hammer a nail into the fence.” On the first day, he hammered 40 nails! But, gradually, the number of nails he hammered began to dwindle. He was beginning to discover it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the hard wood.

One day, he didn’t lose his temper at all. He proudly told his dad who suggested that from now on, every day he held his temper he should pull out one of the nails.

When the last nail was gone he showed his dad who said, “You have done well but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will always be damaged. When you say and do things in anger, they leave a mark. You can say something cruel and apologise but the scar will remain, just like these nail holes. Even when you say you are sorry, the wound stays.”

What is the best way to deal with our anger? Sometimes, anger is a good thing and drives us to take action against injustice, unfairness and bullying. We can say to ourselves, “I feel angry about this and I am going to do something positive to help stop it.” That’s good anger.

But anger is often aggressive and nasty, hurting other people by hitting them, putting them down or being mean. That is the kind of anger that leaves lasting scars. That kind of anger also hurts the person who feels it.

What makes you angry? What do you do about it? Do you lash out? Do you let your anger simmer?

We all need to learn to recognise our anger and to use it to make the world a fairer, nicer, better place. And to make ourselves fairer, nicer, better people.

As Nelson Mandela said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of their skin or their background or their religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Article from Principal Digest




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