BENEFITS OF STRUGGLING
“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 force its body through that little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.
But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.”
I got this in an email forward, years ago. It’s simple, yet profoundly important in relation to helping 10-14 year olds in their struggle in the chrysalis of adolescence.
Too often adults expect too little of the kids in their care. Adults can cripple kids by solving every problem for them or by removing every painful thorn in their path. It’s best not to baby them too much. They need to stretch and writhe in solving their own problems in order to grow up strong enough to solve much bigger problems later in life.
Continue reading “Don’t Baby Them”
Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, had some words to say about success. It starts with a quiz.
Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
Name five people who have won either the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
Name the last five Academy Award winners for best actor or actress.
Name the last five World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. They are not second-rate achievers. They are the very best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Now, try another quiz.
Name five teachers who helped you through your journey through school.
Name five friends who helped you through a difficult time.
Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
Name five people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
Name five people with whom you enjoy spending time.
How did you do?
The point is that the people who make a difference in your life are NOT the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care.
They are significant, not merely successful.
A friend of mine recently expressed frustration with the way that everyone seems to write off their kids around the age of 12. He said that he hears people say very matter-of-factly things like, “Well enjoy your little boys now because it won’t be long before they are teenagers and they stop loving you.” Or they sadly bemoan, “Yeah, I miss those days when my kids hugged me everyday and meant it.” Or they state in exasperation, “I don’t even know who this kid in my house is anymore.”
My friend is worried about this happening to him. He has three boys under the age of 7, and he is absolutely loving them. He told me about how his oldest boy is learning to share and sacrifice for his little brothers at times. He described it as absolutely beautiful.
And then he said, “I don’t want to lose my connection with them. I don’t think I have to, but everybody is telling that it will happen, as if there isn’t anything I can do about it.”
Continue reading “Growing Up and Away?”