Parents who micromanage, indulge, and overprotect their children have a hard time watching kids struggle. Being propped up and rescued every time you falter does not allow kids to learn how to handle the normal ups and downs of life, resulting in adults who are overwhelmed with stress, anxious, and miserable. Let me offer you a story that illustrates this well.
A Grandfather gave his young granddaughter Kelly an unusual present one day, a cocoon. He told her to place it on her windowsill and to watch it every day. He shared that there was a caterpillar inside it, and that if she remained patient, within a few weeks a beautiful butterfly would emerge. The butterfly would start to push against the sides of its home and she might be tempted to help him out, but she had to be patient and let him do it on his own. Sure enough, after a week Kelly noticed the sides of the cocoon being pushed out as the insect struggled to get free. She felt sorry for him, and so she took a sharp knife and carefully cut a slit down the side of the shell. Within a few minutes, out plopped the butterfly. He dusted off his wings and attempted to fly, but after just a foot he fell to the table. He tried again and got a few feet farther, but again landed. The butterfly walked to the edge of the table, flapped his wings and took off, only to fall to his death. Kelly was heartbroken.
The reason the butterfly pushes against the sides of his cocoon is to push fluids down the length of his wings in order to strengthen them in preparation for flying. It was this struggling that allowed him to be ready to survive and thrive.
And so it is with our children.
Look for Dr. Jordan’s new E-book for young adults and their parents entitled:
Letters From My Grandfather: Timeless Wisdom For a Life Worth Living