*“Once upon a time, a child found a butterfly that was starting to hatch from its cocoon. The child sat down and watched the butterfly for hours as it struggled to force itself through a tiny hole. Then, it suddenly stopped making progress and looked like it was stuck.
Therefore, the child decided to help the butterfly out. The child took a pair of scissors and cut off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, although it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The child thought nothing of it, and sat there waiting for the wings to enlarge to support the butterfly. However, that never happened. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around with small wings and a swollen body.
Despite the child’s kind heart, they didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small hole were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings to prepare itself for flying once it was free.”
Hmmm, have you ever been like the child in this story? I have. As a professional counselor, teacher, coach, and parent I have often wanted to make things easier for my clients, my students, my athletes, and my own kids. My empathy and unconditional love are strengths for sure, but when they cause me to deprive others of difficult, but formative experiences, they can serve as deficits for me and for those I intend to serve. Perhaps you recall a classic scene from “Remember the Titans” when Coach Boone confronts Coach Yost for coddling several of the players.
With all this in mind, I am careful in regards to giving advice and/or coddling. Though well-intentioned, advice can be a bit like cutting off the cocoon. I can (and perhaps should) help guide others’ thinking and perhaps even put boundaries in place to protect against catastrophic damage. But to some extent, people need to make their own decisions and learn from the consequences of their actions. And I need to be content with my role as a support person and not being the hero.
Until next time….Laugh a Lot, Love a Lot, and Have an Excellent Edventure!
- Dr. Rick Albright
*Story from “Top 100 Motivational Stories: The Best Inspirational Short Stories and Anecdotes of All Time”