Once, there was a son who had a very bad temper, and he sincerely wanted to improve. His dad told him, “If you want to improve your temper, then every time you get angry, I want you to take a nail and hammer it in the big tree in our backyard.”
So that’s what the son did. At the beginning, he’d put 5 or 6 nails in each day. After a few days, he was startled at how many nails he’d already put into the tree. He thought, “I had no idea my temper was this bad!”
The son then worked hard to not get angry. After a period of hard work, he was able to have days where he didn’t get angry at all. Then, his dad told him, “For each day you don’t get angry at all, you can remove one nail from the tree.”
The son was very happy to hear this. He worked hard, and over a long period of time, finally came the day where he could remove the last nail from the tree. He told his dad proudly, “I did it! That’s the last nail gone!”
The dad replied, “Even though you removed the last nail, what happened to the tree trunk?”
The son realized, “There’s so many holes.”
“Can the tree ever return back to the way it was before you put the nails in?” asked the dad.
“No.” replied the son.
To which the dad said, “And so it’s the same with people.”