A young mother was fascinated watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon but she became concerned at the creature’s enormous struggle to create a large enough opening. After a while it appeared that the butterfly gave up, overwhelmed by the task. The mother feared that the butterfly would never make it without help so she delicately cut open the cocoon. The grateful butterfly wriggled out but its wings were shriveled. The loving lady who wanted so much to help actually sentenced the butterfly to a short life with undeveloped wings by terminating a natural process that required a great struggle through a small opening. This struggle is designed to force blood from the butterfly’s body into the wings giving it strength and vitality.
One of the hardest things for loving parents is to know when to let kids work their own way out of the rough patches in life. Of course we should always be supportive and demonstrate caring, and we should look for opportunities to give them strategies and tools to deal with their problems. What we have to be careful of is being so over-protective that we deprive them of the opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes. If we are always willing to bail them out so that they do not suffer the natural consequences of their choices we do them no favors. In fact, we may be preventing them from growing the strong wings they need.