"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I was originally going to title this blog "Becoming a Butterfly," because I've been thinking of this story lately:

Butterfly (A True Story)

A family in my neighborhood once brought in two cocoons that were just about to hatch. They watched as the 1st once began to open and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed in 1 end of the cocoon. After lying exhausted for about 10 minutes following its agonizing emergence, the butterfly finally flew out the window on its beautiful wings.

The family decided to help the 2nd butterfly so that it would not have to go through such an excruciating ordeal. So, as it began to emerge, they carefull sliced open the cocoon with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a cesarean section. The 2nd butterfly never did sprout wings and in about 10 minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died.

The family asked a biologist friend to explain what happened. The scientist said that the difficult struggly to emerge from the small hole actually pushes the liquids from depp inside the butterfly's body into the tiny capillaries in in the wings, where they harden to complete the health and beauty of the adult butterfly.

Without the struggle, there are no wings

It seems we've been experiencing some family-wide growing pains lately. So I've been thinking of this story, and thinking how butterflies do not transform overnight. They become butterflies as the result of a long and gradual process. Sometimes there are jumps between stages, and sometimes there is struggling. I've seen this again and again in myself, and I see it again and again in my kids, especially lately. So this story I've heard so long ago has been on my mind, and this blog post was born. But then I thought.... what if they don't want to be butterflies? What if they want to become dolphins or lizards or pterodactyls?

Whenever I'm asked why I homeschool, I have a tendency to babble. I am a babbler anyway, and there are just so many many reasons. This though, would have to be at the top of my list. I want my kids to be able to be what THEY want to be, and I want them to take the path THEY need to take to get there. I see so many people - friends, family members, other homeschoolers - try to subtly and not-so-subtly assist my kids in becoming "butterflies." They want to box them, label them, declare they're butterflies and send them on their way. I thank God that they have other choices, and I thank God that they know they're free to become whatever their hearts desire.


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