The butterfly
Author Unknown

One day, a man was walking and found a butterfly still inside of its cocoon. He looked closer and saw that the butterfly was working very hard to fit its body through a tiny, tiny hole in the cocoon so it could get out and fly around. The man decided to help the butterfly.  He used scissors to cut a bigger hole in the cocoon.

The butterfly was free from the cocoon and the man thought it would fly away quickly.  But the butterfly could not fly.  Its body was too swollen and its wings were too shriveled for flying.  It was out of its cocoon, but this butterfly would never be able to fly.

Although the man was trying to help by cutting the cocoon, he didn’t realize one very important thing about butterflies. Even thought it is very hard work, pushing its body through that tiny, tiny hole in the cocoon helps make the butterfly strong enough to fly.  All that hard work makes its body trim and its wings big and strong.  The challenge of fitting through that tiny, tiny hole makes the butterfly able to fly.

We’re a lot like butterflies sometimes too.  We need to work hard to get through the challenges we face.  And, like the butterfly, once we work through them, we’re stronger too.  If we didn’t have those challenges, we would never get any stronger.

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This short story illustrates the need for us to help ourselves during times of struggle and hardship.  For example, if you want to go to college, you are the only one who can make it happen for you.  Of course, there may be people who can guide you along the way (advisers, teachers, and/or parents), but ultimately, the hard work comes from you (attending school, getting good grades, applying for college, applying for scholarships/financial aid, etc).

The next example is also related to school: cheating.  Many people may think that cheating will benefit them because they will pass their classes and graduate from school.  But what use is cheating when you have not learned anything?  How will you thrive and be successful once you get into your profession if you have cheated throughout school?  You will be just like the butterfly above, out of its cocoon with a set of wings, but unable to fly.

Some people experiencing domestic violence may expect friends, family, or advocates to “rescue” them from their abusers.  Alternatively, some may think that those experiencing domestic violence need to be “rescued” from their abusive situation.  The decision for someone to leave their abuser is up to the victim.  They are the butterfly struggling to get out of their cocoon and even though there may be others to support them (family, friends, advocates), it is ultimately the victims who will be taking the steps to seek out and use resources available to them.

In the end, it’s our struggles and our lives.  How are we going to learn from it if we’re constantly expecting others to “do it” for us?  Or how are they going to learn if we’re constantly “doing” for them?  I am not telling you to don’t ask for help or don’t help those who ask.  Please, by all means, ask if you need help and help if someone asks.  Just don’t expect others to do it for you and don’t do it for others when they ask.  There is a difference.  Life is much more wonderful when everyone has a set of wings and is able to fly.

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