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Friday, March 1, 2013

butterflies and babies

My son is learning to crawl.  He has been shuffling backwards and rolling for some time now but this morning he decided to try to get his legs under him to get some forward momentum.  But each time he made progress with his legs, his arms gave way and he faceplanted directly into the floorboards.  There was struggling and crying and grunting and whinging and I just wanted to rescue the poor little blighter.

It reminded me of the story of butterflies.  Apparently the struggle to escape a cocoon is phenomenal. But it is a necessary struggle since the very act of escaping the cocoon is what pumps blood into their wings and enables butterflies to fly.  If you try to help the butterfly by breaking open the cocoon for it, the butterfly will come out deformed and will never be able to fly.

Similarly, this morning, each time George smacked his face on the floorboards, I had an urge to pick him up and take him wherever he wanted to go.  I wanted to tell him to, "just stop trying" so that he'd avoid the obvious pain he was creating for himself.  Instead, I recognised the necessity for the struggle and cheered him on.  "Go George!"

With the really important things, it occurs to me that we can't help people by constantly rescuing them.  We can show them how something is done, we can support them, but ultimately, for a person to grow and thrive, they need to do things for themselves.

I have some questions for you.

Who are you rescuing? By doing what? Is this helping them or preventing their own growth? How could you better support them?

Are you allowing yourself to be rescued? In what way?  How do you think you'd feel if you could learn to do these things for yourself?

Enjoy the challenge and the struggle.  Allow yourself to have a few faceplants of your own.  You'll recover, learn to crawl and then to walk and feel more confident for it.  "Go You!"