Our Children… Are A Lot Like Butterflies…
Have you heard the story about the caterpillar… or is it the story about the butterfly… or is it the story about the cocoon. I'm not really sure which one it is. I'm sure you're even more lost right now than I am. That's ok, it'll all tie together at the end.
So, important one here… this story. This is not MY story, but one I've been told many times over… some of the best parenting advice I could offer...
Ok… so… THE BUTTERFLY…
Once upon a time there was a caterpillar. It was a plain ol' caterpillar, but a caterpillar nonetheless. The caterpillar lived in a forest nearby a mans home. Every morning the man and his son would walk past the caterpillar and stare in wonder at the legs as they moved, watch it eat, and simply stand mesmerized for a few moments every morning on their morning walk.
One morning, they came by the caterpillars branch to find that the caterpillar was gone and in it's place was a cocoon. "Oh, the man told his son… this is so exciting. This ugly caterpillar, is inside the cocoon and will soon be a beautiful butterfly." They continued on their walk.
They did this for many mornings in a row. Until one morning, they came across the cocoon to find it moving. They watched as the butterfly struggled to break through the cocoon wall. The son looked at his dad and said, "Dad. Help the butterfly out of the cocoon."
The father looked at the boy and said, "Son, sometimes things struggle for a reason. There is a reason the butterfly is struggling to get out of the cocoon." The boy again expressed to his dad that he wanted to see the butterfly and didn't like seeing the butterfly struggle.
After they were done with their walk, the boy asked his father. "Dad, if I was a butterfly, and I was stuck in a cocoon, would you cut me out of it?"
The father told the boy, "No son, I wouldn't. Because I love you. Sometimes struggle is necessary. I love you enough to allow you to struggle when you need to."
The boy didn't quite understand. Being young and naive, and thinking he was helping the butterfly, the boy went himself and cut the cocoon open so the butterfly could get out easier.
The next day, both father and son walked by the cocoon, and found the butterfly who was sitting there on the branch, with flimsy wings, unable to fly.
The father realized by the way the boy was acting that the boy had come and cut the butterfly out of his cocoon after their morning walk.
The father asked the son if he had helped the butterfly out of the cocoon.
The boy smiled and said yes.
The father asked the boy if he was at all curious as to why the butterfly's wings were so sad and flimsy.
The boy looked at the butterfly, and at that moment he noticed it too.
"What is wrong with the butterfly's wings, dad?"
The father looked down at the son and asked him if he remembered him telling him that sometimes struggle is necessary.
The boy said yes.
The father explained. When a butterfly is in a cocoon. It is held tight and must fight and struggle to break out of the cocoon to freedom. The reason for this is because as the butterfly fights and struggles, his wings become stronger and when the wings are strong enough to fly, they are also strong enough to break out of the cocoon.
The butterfly that has been helped out of the cocoon will never fly, because his wings were never developed and they aren't strong enough to support him or fly with.
The butterfly will remain on the branch until a predator comes and then, because it cannot fly away when threatened, it will most likely die.
The boy understood at this point.
Many years later, the boy, being older and finding himself in the middle of a very hard life lesson called his dad. When his dad asked him if he would like his help, the boy simply said, "No dad. I think I am a butterfly right now. I need this struggle."
I would write more. But I think this story pretty much says it all.
I implore you to let your children struggle. They will need to fly away some day.
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