Butterflies And Roses

June 4, 2021

As a young parent, we are often tempted to compare the development and achievements of our children with that of their peers. Sometimes we coax and cajole them to do better, achieve more, attain it faster.. Who of us has not experienced impatience with the struggle of an unaccomplished child, and felt the temptation to take the difficult task out of their hands and finish it off on their behalf?

In his book Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis says,

I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain.

It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm.

And so it is with our children. Their struggles are crucial to their development and to the process of cultivating skill and resilience. We must be wise enough to back off. We mustn’t intervene or try and save them from the struggle, which is their essential learning process. Similarly, no two children will unfurl their talents at the same rate. A rose will bloom in its own time. So don’t compare your child to another. Just love them, and allow them to unfold their potential in their own divine time.

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