I recently told this story at a school wide Monday Morning Meeting.
A man was walking along a path in the woods and he noticed, from the corner of his eye, the gentlest of movements coming from a low hanging branch. He squatted toward the earth to examine the source of the movement and saw before him the last stage of a transforming caterpillar reading itself to emerge from its chrysalis as a butterfly. The man decided to enjoy one of nature’s miracles so he sat and prepared to watch. He was there for a long time and he could see that the butterfly was struggling to emerge. As he was running short on time he decided to help. He removed a small pocket knife from his backpack and with a surgeon’s precision he lacerated the chrysalis to allow for an easier exit. The man then went on his way believing he had done a good deed. Unbeknownst to the man the butterfly needed no help. Because of the man’s “assistance” the butterfly would live a very different life than nature had intended. For you see, the butterfly required the struggle and difficulty inherent in the act of exiting the chrysalis. It is during the struggle that the fluid in the Butterfly’s body is pumped into the wings, thus preparing it to take it’s first flight. Because this butterfly didn’t experience the tribulations of independently emerging from the chrysalis, it spent the rest of the it’s life walking the earth with crumpled wings, unable to fly.
This is an important story for children. Struggling with schoolwork, friendship issues, family conflict, can all be uncomfortable. However, it is necessary for growth. We learn so much about ourselves when something is difficult. At IAA we support and nurture the children through their struggles and help facilitate those learning experiences.
This is especially important this week as we prepare to start the SBAC testing. Both I and the staff and teachers at IAA have sent a positive message about the test. But more importantly we have sent a positive message about the children.
My story connects to this message and we convey it to the children of IAA this way:
For many the test may be a struggle. It may be uncomfortable. But that struggle is okay, embrace it. More importantly, the SBAC or any test for that matter, does not define you. This test does not dissuade us from celebrating all that is you. Your test results don’t change the love and joy we feel in your presence. This test, this struggle, is a small part of a much larger school and life experience. So don’t let it affect your ability to fly.