Let the Butterfly Struggle

There’s a parable about a new mother who discovered a
butterfly struggling mightily to escape its cocoon
through a tiny opening at the top. She became
concerned when the creature seemed to give up after
making no progress. Certain that the butterfly just
wouldn’t make it out without help, she enlarged the
hole slightly.

On its next try, the butterfly wriggled out easily.
But the young women’s joy turned to horror as she saw
its wings were shriveled and useless. Her
well-intentioned intervention turned out badly because
it interrupted a natural process. You see, forcing the
butterfly to squeeze though a small opening is
nature’s way of assuring that blood from the
creature’s body is pushed into the wings. By making it
easier, she deprived the butterfly of strong wings.
Childhood, too, is a sort of cocoon. If a healthy
adult is to emerge, parents must allow, even
encourage, their children to struggle, to make
mistakes and learn from them, and to pay a price for
their own bad judgments and conduct.
Of course, good parents should be ready to protect
their children from serious harm. But being
overprotective can itself cause serious harm.
Adversity is not always an enemy. It’s often a teacher
that helps young people develop wings strengthened by
self-confidence and self-reliance.

Helen Keller once said, "Character cannot be developed
in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and
suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared,
ambition inspired, and success achieved."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.
(c) 2012 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation’s
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

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