Sep 102014
Blue morpho butterfly 300x271

Blue morpho butterfly 300×271 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Did you ever wonder about a butterfly’s job?  Especially its first job?  How does it ‘become’? Here’s an excerpt from What Kids Need to Succeed: Four Foundations of Adult Achievement.

Nature offers many examples of the value of struggle.  A caterpillar hiberantes in a chrysalis.  Upon discovering this odd-looking residence, one might be tempted to “help” it become a butterfly by cutting into the structure and creating a ready exit.

Naturally, the ‘butterfly prospect’ will take the easiest way out, crawling through the new opening.  But will it ever be able to unfurl its wings and fly?  Will it ever become a butterfly?  Struggling to get free of the chrysaslis builds the strength the insect needs.  What looks like a painful process is a vital step on the road to becoming a butterfly.

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I’m sure that, if asked, the ‘butterfly prospect’ would tell us it doesn’t want to work its way out of the chrysalis. That it’s scary.  And too hard.

So Mother Nature doesn’t ask for input.  Caterpillars simply undergo this process. It doesn’t matter how anyone feels about it.  It just is.

If you look around the rest of the animal kingdom, you’ll find similar examples of built-in struggle: chicks breaking out of their eggs, helpless baby sea turtles making a tortuous crawl toward the surf, salmon struggling upstream to spawn.

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Nature doesn’t put these barriers in the way of her creatures to be cruel.  Animals that pass the test survive to pass their genes on to the next generation, improving the species.

It’s an image the helps me evaluate my desire to intervene and overprotect.  Who’s going to feel better off after?  Who gets the chance to be strong enough to become a butterfly?



  11 Responses to “What’s a Butterfly’s Job?”

  1. You know I love this! We speak the same language Andrea! Butterflies are a huge part of my transformation message.

  2. Love this! The blue morpho caught my attention right away since I had the grand opportunity to visit a blue morpho “farm” in Belize many years ago. What an amazing experience!

    I’ve always thought that the butterfly is a spirit symbol of sorts–there’s one in my blog header–because a butterfly has so little time to do the things it is meant to do. That brings me to mindfulness and enjoying the moment.

    Thanks for a great piece!

    • That sounds like a wonderful experience…. and I love your focus on the relationship between the butterfly and being in “the moment.” Thanks.

  3. What a great article. I love your approach of using nature as a wise source of analogies for human growth.

    • Thanks, Chara. I’ve got a lot to learn from nature. I find it a good place to start when I’m “stuck.”

  4. I love the idea of asking the question, who is going to feel better after? Thanks for that.

    • Thanks, Tiffany. When I find myself struggling to do the right thing that’s often the question I need to ask.

  5. Andrea,

    I love this post. I especially love the reminder that “helping” can be interfering with a process that builds strength and independence. A great reminder to beware enabling and to trust in nature, instead.

  6. Butterflies always remind, that the best is yet to come, and the light will shine a nd we will leave the darkness behind..
    Thank you for talking about this.. I speak of the butterfly alot too.. in the work that i do..

    have a great day

  7. Well, I’m kinda bias for this article because I spent much time studying the butterfly and people to write my new book The Butterfly Payoff. What an amazing example these creatures set for us humans. Overcoming obstacles is the only way to get strong and reach the summit of your dreams.

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