This is no illusion, yes that is a moth. In a container, in my kitchen… once a cute caterpillar that my girls named Sunny. After they learned about metamorphosis they begged to create a home for it to build its cocoon and turn into a butterfly.
I informed them at one point that this will be a moth. A simple moth with fragile wings. I’d like to think of this as an allusion to a metaphor we are all stuck in at some point in our lives.
- We seek change in ourselves or others and have our own vision of the results, even after they have been revealed.
- We live in a world where hiding behind a mask is the norm. At the same time, we are just fine never seeing behind the masks of others. We contently see things how we want them to be, creating an ideal that is impossible to attain.
These, I can confidently say are two scenarios we have all partaken in. Maybe you were the main character, maybe you were the gawker, the hopeful seeker of your imagination. Whatever it may be – you chose to act in a certain way that let a result be something other than what it actually is.
I’m pointing my finger and saying you’ve done this because I believe it’s innate. Mixed with naivety, some lack of knowledge, sprinkled with unrealistic optimism… but still innate. This is not to say that striving for perfection or working to be better in certain areas of life, is bad – but striving for the impossible is just well, not possible.
My children who were told that our cute little fuzzy friend would be a moth, still called it a butterfly even after seeing it as a moth. One of my children said, “oh no, it’s wings are not pretty yet.” Then, after continuing to tell them, “well, this is a moth and this is how Sunny will always be.”, they began to call sunny the moth-butterful. I could see their minds working hard to wrap around the fact that Sunny is not the ‘butterfly’ they thought she would be. Their is an odd dissonence between a sweet furry caterpillar and a simple white moth. Almost as if it just could never be that way or something went wrong. Maybe it didn’t eat through that one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, or one slice of salami like it was suppose to.
The real dilemma here is that I failed as a parent in this lesson. Ok, that’s a bit extreme but I kind of did!! I could have excitedly googled images of moths and talked to them about moths and shared with them the inevitable result of their caterpillar. But darn it, we have a few books that talk about butterflies and in their sweet little minds, that is what a caterpillar turns into! Something with glorious patterned wings that will happily land on your finger while dancing in a field. Lovely thought, huh?
If the extent of our knowledge on a certain topic doesn’t go beyond one result, than how are we suppose to react when we are presenting with a result we didn’t know existed? I halted their knowledge with little care, not realizing how it may affect them. Ok, I know my children will be fine but I missed a very simple teaching opprotunity, as I (dramatically) lament over the life of a moth…
Our poor sweet Sunny, however, is now living in a world that two little hopefuls are imagining for it. Welcomed into a world with unrealistic expectations, as my girls patiently wait for their friend to (never) blossom into the only result they are familiar with – – a butterfly.
I know this is just a moth but how can one not see the analogy? It hit me like a rock.
Let’s think about this for a moment. As people, we need to see each other for all that we are, accepting what we become and what we will always be. At the same time, we need to step back and take a real look at ourselves and love every inch of our being – even if it’s not what we had planned for or what others expected…
THIS IS US.
We are all moths living in a butterfly world yet we can be just as grand as any butterfly, if we confidently peel back our masks and unashamedly delight in our delicate world.