The Word of God

Daddy Nailed It

Father and son measuring wooden plank

One day, a young father wanted his son to understand the true impact of making right choices, of obeying and doing what’s right. His idea was unique: every time his son made a bad choice or a wrong decision, he gave him a hammer and one gray nail to go out to their backyard and pound it into the wooden fence. At first, it seemed like a game for the youngster, as he was excited in a playful way to have to go out and nail these objects into the fence. It was fun, of course, until he had to go out when it was raining or cold or in the darkness of the night. But still, it continued. Every time the little boy got in trouble, talked back to either of his parents, or caused a disappointing note to accompany him from his teachers, there he went out to the back. However, every time he made a solid, great decision, making his parents and himself proud of his accomplishments, he was instructed to go out to the fence and carefully remove any one of those nails.

This family ritual continued until the boy was now a strapping, handsome young man all of 21 ready for the world and a bright future ahead. By this time, it had been months even years since he ever went outside to either pound or extract any more nails in the back fence. The night before he was to leave for a new life in another city far away, his father called him outside late one afternoon as the sun began to set. His young man of a son knew what was coming as he saw a few tears begin to drop from his dad’s face. There were no more nails in the fence. They both idly stared at the fence from left to right with powerful memories flooding both of their souls as the light of the sun began to escape.

“Son,” the father continued, “You’ve done well. I am ready to let you go forward. But just look at all the holes in our fence. It will never be the same. When you choose a wrong path, speak a hateful word, give in to a selfish act that hurts another, or violate trust that has been faithfully placed in you, they leave a scar just like these holes. You will find forgiveness, but please think before you act knowing that there will always be consequences.” “If you can remember this moment and this fence, I can rest assured that I’ve done all I could to raise you as good a man as possible.” Now the sun had set and only the light of the back porch and a pale soft glow from a full moon gently bathed the two men and an old fence. Time seemed to stand still. No words were needed.

Share your thoughts (15 thoughts)

15 thoughts on “Daddy Nailed It”

  • Anonymous says:

    Great story! Every word and deed has an effect on the people we meet. I pray my boys continue learning the importance of being kind but firm and make good choices with the words they use as this shapes their character. Our children don’t have to agree with us today, but I truly believe they will thank us later for the times we give guidance.

  • Rosie Pena says:

    What a beautiful lesson on parenting!!! The story not only reflects what a good earthly father would do to discipline his child with patience and integrity but more importantly it also reflects how our Heavenly Father is always simply instructing us to choose LOVE above everything else!!

  • Julie Trevino says:

    Thank you for another wonderful and inspirational story.
    I believe that Jesus was crucified because of our sins. I have always believed that every time we sin, we have nailed another nail into the cross. Jesus suffered so much because of our selfishness. I also believe that when we do something good, our Lord’s cross is a little bit lighter.
    This story was a great reminder that we need to teach our children about love, respect and obedience for the love of God. I just saw pictures of little children in Boston being taught, in a public library, to worship Satan. It was horrible!!!
    Please pray for the children of this world!
    Teach your children to pray every day!!
    May God have mercy on us all. Amen.

  • B. Garcia says:

    Wow! What a powerful message! When I (hopefully) have a son of my own one day, this will be an exact lesson I teach him. Thanks for sharing!

    • Caro says:

      Yes it is powerful because it describes the unbeatable force of love: this is what the world so desperately needs right now. I pray that you will be that father you dream of being and being the pillar of strength and compassion for all your children!

      • Caro says:

        “Dare, dream, dance, smile, and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force!”

        — Suzanne Brockmann

  • Denise Guerra says:

    What a great story. We never really know how much our words and actions can leave a mark on someone. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone put something like this into practice in their families. If people could see how much damage their words do to the soul. Maybe, just maybe, we would all be a lot nicer to one another. Thank you for the story. Another great one!!

    • Caro says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed that one, Denise, and thank you for always finding the time to reflect and respond to these pages. I know a lot of people come back just to read these comments. I also believe that a whole lot of us, more than we choose to admit, would want to have been just a little kinder in this life,, less nails, more hugs!>

      • Caro says:

        “A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.” –Lois Wyse

  • Liz Guerra says:

    Such a beautiful and meaningful reflection to ponder on especially as Father’s Day is approaching. It brought tears to my eyes. Need I say, I loved it.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you so much, Liz! I truly appreciate the way you expressed your feelings about this piece. My only prayer before writing it and now rereading it all over again, is that scenes like this are happening all over the place!

      • Caro says:

        Be willing to share your blessings. The only riches that last are the ones that are given away. – David Khalil

  • Margie Lancaster says:

    A powerful analogy of the extreme importance of good parenting (from our earthly father and Heavenly Father) thoughtful behavior, maturity and self control as we achieve our formation in God’s commandments. We need that reminder of the permanence of those “holes in the fence” to know we are not perfect, we have wounded others and how thankful we our for the gift of forgiveness. A good time to meditate on the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you and welcome back, Margie and absolutely spot on is your assessment of the need to not only reflect on the “holes in the fence,” but the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. I believe your comments are providential because there are nine of us here in the office and nine fruits of the Spirit. I intend to create separate envelopes that explain and describe these fruits and allow each person to draw one out and if they wish to share what they picked and to consider that this is the fruit God is hoping to bestow on them (us.) Hopefully we will see great things emerge from this wonderful exercise. Thanks again for all your support and attention to these pages. You are greatly appreciated, believe me! The more from Iowa the better!!

      • Caro says:

        I had to learn to forgive myself, not to judge, but to learn from the past. They showed me how vital it is to accept, be truthful, and love myself. So I could do the same with others.
        Marlo Morgan

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