We share this story with you to remind you of how important it is to allow our children to struggle. Are there times you have had the urge to “snip off the remaining bit of cocoon”? What did you do instead?
One day a man found a cocoon of a butterfly. When a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours through the tiny hole.
Then it seemed to stop making progress. It had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly now emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand, to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon, and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as we could have been. And we would never be able to fly.
The powerful lesson of nature’s cocoon is this: We humans were meant to seek and struggle in life; this may be why we are continually exposed to such striking opposites as pain and joy, good and evil and so on. We must teach this truth to our children, not with words, but by helping them experience it.