The children are back, and it feels so great to have them here! The children are getting accustomed to the rhythms of our days. Most know what to do when they arrive at school, though may need reminders. Those who initially resisted our beginning-of-the-day duties are reluctantly participating. “I don’t want to wash my hands… go potty… put on my jacket…” “That’s just what we do at school” is usually a satisfactory answer.
Our morning routine of visiting the grandmas and grandpas will soon become second nature. Already, most of the children walk into Willow Cove (the name for memory care) and begin making their way around the circle to shake hands. It is so touching to see these little ones greeting and receiving such warm welcomes from the grandmas and grandpas. For some children, shaking hands and making eye contact comes very naturally. For others, it is truly a brand new skill that is no different than zipping jackets and will require a lot of repetition.
Speaking of repetition and at the risk of sounding trite, there is a story called The Butterfly’s Struggle that many of you know, but is worth re-reading. As a parent and an educator, my natural inclination is to help. Helping is at the core of who I am and at the core of what I have done professionally for over twenty years.
Last week, as Sarah played a game called “Who’s Missing” with the children, one little boy got stuck guessing which of his friends was hiding out of sight. After a few moments of silence, I couldn’t stand it any longer and gave him a big clue. Sarah said, “Thank you, Amy, for figuring that out for us.” I catch myself (or my colleagues catch me) doing this several times each week. All I know is that I can’t stand to watch anyone struggle with anything for long. As this story illustrates so beautifully, sometimes standing back and allowing the struggle to occur is the only way for one to make it successfully to the next stage.
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 squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as though it was unable to go any further.
The man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily, but its body was swollen and wings were shriveled.
The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body. Neither happened. In face, the butterfly spend the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from its body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles cripples us. We will never be as strong as we could have been without struggle. Without struggle, we can never fly.