Here is a lovely parable that I shared many years ago in Bringing Up Baby. As I watched the children creating their own works of art this past Saturday I thought about this story and wanted to share it again with you.
The Little Boy and the Butterfly
Once upon a time there was a little boy who loved to go walking with his grandfather. His grandfather knew a great many things and would tell the little boy about all the wonders of nature. One day the grandfather and the little boy saw a caterpillar weaving a chrysalis around itself. The grandfather told the little boy about how the caterpillar would turn into a beautiful butterfly when it emerged from its cocoon. The little boy checked on the chrysalis every day and one day he could hear scratching sounds from within. He was very excited and ran to tell his grandfather. His grandfather smiled and told the little boy that it would take time for the butterfly to emerge and that he should be patient.
The next morning the little boy could hardly wait to run outside and see if the butterfly had emerged. He saw a tiny hole and something moving inside. He again ran to tell his grandfather. “You will still need to be patient and wait for the butterfly to come out on his own”, his grandfather said. The butterfly did not emerge that evening nor the next morning and the little boy began to worry that the butterfly was working too hard and would not be able to push his way out of the cocoon himself.
He decided that he could help the butterfly by cutting the hole just a little larger. He went to get his mother’s scissors and very, very carefully enlarged the opening for the butterfly. Then he watched and waited. The creature inside gave a tremendous push and emerged from the enlarged opening. As the little boy watched, the butterfly tried to open its wings, but it could not and it was soon dead.
The little boy sadly carried the branch with the open cocoon and the dead butterfly back to his grandfather. He told his grandfather how he was worried that the butterfly would not be able to get out of the cocoon. He told his grandfather how he had carefully enlarged the hole to make it easier for the butterfly. The grandfather smiled sadly at the little boy and said, “I’m sorry I did not explain why the butterfly has to work so hard. It must work very hard to become strong. If it is strong it will be able to open its wings and fly. By making it easier for the butterfly to get out of the cocoon, you took away the hard work the butterfly needed to do to become strong.
We hope to see many of you this coming Saturday at Toad House for more Toadally Artsy Kids’ Events!
Into a corner crept
Spun around himself a blanket
Then for a long time slept
Waking up by and by
Found himself with beautiful wings
Changed into a butterfly.
Pantomime creeping fingers to child’s underarm. Spinning motion, pantomime sleeping, waking. Make the sign for butterfly with palms crossed, facing toward self and fingers spread as if butterfly wings.