The Child Cocoon

I once heard a story about a butterfly:

The story of the butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!

In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:

The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

I found myself contemplating on this story as I read about Madlyn Primoff, the mom that dropped her kids off a couple of miles from home because of bickering. I read comments about this story when it first came out and was surprised how many people said that they have done something very similar, while other chided her for what she had done. While I am not condoning her actions, I wonder what we are doing to our children. Are we trying to protect our kids too much from the dangers of life – for instance – Teachers cannot use red ink because it may cause self esteem issues. Are we cutting the butterfly from the cocoons – metaphorically. I think that we need to give our children a little more benefit of the doubt, and let them grow up strong. The real world is not an easy place to live in, and we need to be preparing our children for this reality. I am sure that it is hard to let your children get a bruise sometime, but in alot of cases it helps them develop and mature. Am I off base or are we coddling our children into a life of dependence on others?


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