there is a story, oft repeated, that many of you have heard before.
while playing outside, a little boy saw a butterfly struggling to get out of it’s cocoon. he watched for a while, fascinated, and then, feeling sorry for the butterfly, who was beating it’s new wings desperately in an attempt to escape, decided to help. he peeled the cocoon off and pulled the butterfly out.
the butterfly, of course, promptly died.
while this really in the case of what will almost always happen if you attempt to “free” a butterfly from it’s cocoon, the moral of the story goes beyond ‘don’t fuck with butterflies’.
struggle is what makes us evolve. it’s what makes it possible to move from one stage in life to another.
evolution comes from having to adapt to your surroundings. the culture we live in has decided, instead, to adapt our surroundings to make ourselves more comfortable.
some people attempt to ‘complete’ themselves through sonsumerism. our media encourages this, urging us to define ourselves through impersonal possessions.
others, perhaps, glory in their incompleteness, putting experiences and challenges in front of themselves, to struggle through and either emerge victorious, or perhaps admit failure and return again.
we do this naturally, if you watch children at play the games they create are all about overcoming obstacles, battling monsters and great fights and quests. …as long as they’re functioning in a natural state. many toys and games that the media pushes on children are about, again, collecting and consumerism. how many outfits you have for your barbie (or bratz) doll. but is she really complete without her barbie car? what about her townhome?
when a kid is in their natural state, and learning to climb trees, they encounter skinned knees, scraped palms, pitchy hair, and fear.
when our kids encounter anything that makes them uncomfortable, the fearful american parent will often instinctively react, to prevent or rid our child of any possible discomfort. often we encourage the fear, instead of their innate ability to develop power over it. “that looks too hard for you. why don’t you try something easier? why don’t you play on the ground, or have a snack instead?”
the child is then conquered. they learn if they fear something, they should stay away from it. if something is hard, it shouldn’t be attempted. no evolution takes place.
however, without interference, that child will return to the same tree time and time again, and their body and mind will begin to adapt.
shoes will be abandoned, feet and hands will become more confident, coordination will increase, sense of balance will develop, and those monkey instincts will kick in.
it’s discomfort that pushes us forward. it’s struggle that makes us truly alive and instills in us a sense of power.
let’s hear it for adventure. for experience. for pushing our limits and forcing our own growth.
and let’s not hold our kids back from pushing themselves and experiencing life to it’s fullest.
let’s hear it for letting go.