The Fence
Posted on 8/19/2011 by Alan Rousso
Categories: Metaphoric Stories Philosophy Personal Growth

Tommy was a mischievous little boy as many little boys are.  He was constantly getting into trouble and his father looked for ways for Tommy to learn a few lessons.  One afternoon, while Tommy was being a little rascal, his father asked him to do a chore which would not only take Tommy's attention away from trouble, but also to keep him occupied for a few hours.  "Tommy", his father exclaimed, "the fence needs fixing."  Tommy came over to his dad and asked what needed to be done to the fence.  His father asked that he strengthen the fence by driving an additional nail into every single picket of the fence.  Tommy took the hammer from his father's hand, picked up a box of nails and began to hammer an additional nail into each part of the fence. After he was finished, Tommy ran to tell his father about his work, and his father was pleased with the work that Tommy had done.

The following day, Tommy found another way to get into trouble.  His father called to Tommy and said, "Tommy, you did such a great job with the fence the other day, that I'd like you to do a little more work on it." Tommy walked over to his dad and asked what type of work did the fence need now?  His father said that the fence needed a fresh coat of paint and that he wanted the entire fence painted with fresh white paint.  It took Tommy almost the entire day, but he finished his task, and then slowly walked back to his bedroom to rest. His father was sure that these chores would take Tommy's attention away from creating more trouble. 

Later that week, Tommy found another way to get into trouble.  His father was livid with Tommy, but rather than scold him, he called Tommy over and asked why he had such a thing.  Tommy said he was sorry and that it would never happen again.  His father asked Tommy to go get the hammer. Tommy went to the tool shed, picked up the hammer, and returned to see his dad.  His father instructed Tommy to pull every nail that he had previously driven into the fence in an effort to teach him another lesson.  Tommy began pulling each and every nail out of every picket until he was finished. 

After he had done as his father asked, he called his father over to see the work he had done.  His father asked Tommy, "Tommy, what do you see?"  The fence had marks in every single picket from the removal of the nails that Tommy had driven into each picket earlier that week.  Tommy exclaimed that there was a mark on every picket of the fence!

His father turned to Tommy and said, "Tommy, after you do something that hurts someone or something, you can say you're sorry ... but it leaves a mark!" Tommy had learned his lessons that afternoon!

Sometimes we do something or say something that we regret later on and we say "we're sorry."  Sometimes it leaves a mark.

The purpose of life is to awaken to consciousness, rather than allowing old facilitated pathways of behavior to rule our lives.  Tommy learned his lessons.  We can too!

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