Once a little girl was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. She carefully picked it up and took it home to show her mother. She asked her mother if she could keep it, and she said she could if she would take good care of it.
The little girl got a large jar from her mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day she watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The girl worriedly called her mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the girl how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.
The little girl was thrilled to hear about the changes her caterpillar would go through. She watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first the girl was excited, but soon she became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!
The girl was so concerned she decided to help. She ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because she had learned not to run with scissors…). She snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!
As the butterfly came out the girl was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. She continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. She knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.
But neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly…
As the girl tried to figure out what had gone wrong her mother took her to talk to a scientist from a local college. She learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The girl’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.
As you go through life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.