This month’s Ladies Home Journal has a small piece by Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America fame. Robin, if you were unaware has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. While obviously this is not a blog about cancer, her message in this piece I think can speak to all parents of special needs children.
She tells the story of the butterfly and how she feels it’s a fantastic analogy for how adversity being a valuable teacher, and how this adversity can leave us stronger than when we started.
Robin describes how the emerging butterfly beats its wings against the cocoon repeatedly to escape. She relates how if the butterfly were to be cut free of the cocoon and not win its freedom through the struggle it doesn’t gain the necessary strength to survive.
I have always thought of my daughter as a butterfly as well. My original theory sprang from the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly and the entire struggle they go through to get to that point and emerge this beautiful and graceful creature. I do believe that Robin’s butterfly analogy still applies to all our children.
Each one in their own way may have a struggle, a cocoon from which they will escape. Beating their wings they slowly emerge having overcome one adversity or another. No matter how many cocoons your youngster must fight their way through it will make them stronger.
Let your child break through the cocoon. Be there to cheer them on, but let them be the ones to break through. To cut your butterfly loose from it’s cocoon would not allow it to win it’s freedom and would not give it the strength it needs to live it’s life. As the parent of a special child, sometimes it’s harder I think to watch the struggle. You feel like you need to help cut open the cocoon. You need to facilitate, but the breakthrough must be their own, hard won maybe, but their own.
Without question we are all blessed with some amazing butterflies.