The Holes Remain

The Holes Remain
D. L. H. Macintosh

Ron, a 9-year old boy, was being raised by his mother who didn’t know how to cope with his uncontrollable temper. She knew he was angry that his father had abandoned him and she tried professional counseling, but nothing seemed to work.

So she sent Ron to spend the summer on his grandparent’s farm. When he came home, he was a changed boy. His mom asked him what happened and he told her that every time he got mad or said anything unkind, Grandpa made him go outside and hammer a big two-inch nail into a two by four. It was hard, and he wasn’t allowed back until the nail was all the way in.

After about 20 trips to the shed to get the tools, he decided it was easier to control his temper than hammer those long nails.

“Did you change because you hated the consequences so much?” she asked.

“Well, that was part of it,” he said. “After I’d nailed in all the nails and was behaving better, Grandma took me outside and made me pull them out. That was even harder. When I was done, she gave me this note.”

He showed it to her, and this is what she read:

“Pulling out the nails is like saying you’re sorry. But the holes still remain in the board. You can’t fix things by being sorry, but you can stop making new holes. Remember, every time you do something mean and nasty, you’re making a hole somewhere in someone. That’s what your dad did to you. Please don’t do it to anyone else. You’re better than that.”

From 2009

The article above, “The Holes Remain,” is written by D.L.H. Macintosh. The article was retrieved from, from where the article was published in 2009.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.