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The Boy and the Butterfly


Not that long ago, I read a book that had the allegory of The Boy and the Butterfly. It was one I’d never read before but I was struck by its poignant message. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember which book had the allegory in it, but when I searched for the story, I came across Heather Harrington’s website where she had rewritten it beautifully.


The Allegory of the Boy and the Butterfly

A young boy came across a butterfly cocoon and brought it into his house. He watched, over the course of hours, as the butterfly struggled to break free from its confinement. It managed to create a small hole in the cocoon, but its body was too large to emerge. It tired and became still.

Wanting to help the butterfly, the boy snipped a slit in the cocoon with a pair of scissors. But the butterfly was small, weak, and its wings crumpled. The boy expected the insect to take flight, but instead it could only drag its undeveloped body along the ground. It was incapable of flying.

The boy, in his eagerness to help the butterfly, stunted its development. What he did not know was that the butterfly needed to go through the process of struggling against the cocoon to gain strength and fill its wings with blood. It was the struggle that made it stronger.


Sometimes the best messages are those that are short so we have the time and space to reflect on our own thoughts. With that, I wonder what this is making you think. Are you the butterfly or the boy? What does it feel like when you struggle? Is that easier or harder than watching someone else struggle? Why?


P.S. My Catch of the Week is the Amazon documentary called, Borrowed Future: Uncovering the Student Loan Crisis in America. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to rope Nolan into watching it with me. I have to say, I was blessed to have received substantial scholarships for college and to have had parents who paid for my undergraduate degree. Though I paid for my master’s and doctoral degrees, going to a respected, yet affordable university meant I could pay as I went. Given that Nolan is a junior in high school who is preparing for life beyond high school, I wanted him to hear how college debt can add up quicker than you know. If you know anyone in your life who is considering going to college, I would strongly urge them to watch this film.

P.P.S. Please remember to...

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