Oh, Be Careful Little Tongue


By: Wanda Fielder



     As a small child I can remember our children’s choir singing the little song “Oh, Be Careful Little Hands What You Do”. Several verses offer admonition to our feet, our eyes, and finally our tongue. The verse ends reminding us that “the Father up above is looking down in tender love, so be careful little tongue what you say.” Such value can be found in this song of long ago. Focusing upon the verse warning us to be careful of the words we say, I came across this profound story that was written anonymously. It proficiently supports the theme of this precious song.

The Hole in the Fence

     There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail in to the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold is temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

     Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it, and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out; however, it won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”

     Is it possible that we have been the cause of many holes in the fence with the careless slinging of hurtful or inappropriate words that left their indelible mark on the recipient? By quickly releasing our words of anger or disgust we may be piercing a hole into the delicate hearts of innocent bystanders. Offhand and thoughtless remarks can leave permanent damage to the underserving receiver. Whoever made the statement “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words can never harm me” stands to be corrected. I can personally remember cutting words that were said to me over fifty years ago. Long forgiven, but sadly never forgotten. Words can be so damaging and hurtful through reckless utterance. So I remind us all, “Oh, be careful little tongue what you say!”



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