Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A story for patience: The Little Caterpillar

Being on internet forums is one of those things that can be extremely helpful, but sometimes frustrating. I set out to write this story to address my daughter's whining about doing chores. When I asked for help on a Waldorf forum, I was met with some advice that I didn't want. At first I bristled. Jane's problem with chores lately, had nothing to do with my rhythm, or her development. Why won't these people just answer the question I asked!

It can be hard to put yourself out there on the internet, especially when you feel surrounded by people who know more than you, or who don't know your situation but seem to be passing judgments. But then, I made myself take a step back. I was not being judged as a mother. These women were trying to help. And I should be humble enough to consider their advice.

And really, when I thought about some of it. I realized some of it was true. I might not have wanted to hear it, and I may not use all of it. But it's okay to rethink your position or what you're doing. It's okay to re-evaluate.

As I pondered my story a bit more, I remembered what I had begun writing it about, and it is a vein that that sometimes affects daily chores, but it affects so many other things with Jane right now. And that theme is impatience. Everything is going to take too long or be so boring. She complains about everything. How long the car ride is, or the wait before the next holiday, or even the length of time before quiet time.

So, I began writing this story with the idea of patience in mind, rather than work. And as I wrote it tonight, I realized, this wasn't just going to be a healing story for Jane, but for me as well. It helped me take a deep breath and push away those thoughts that creep into our minds so often. PUSH, PUSH, PUSH. Is she learning enough? She should be reading now! And helped me to remember that there is wisdom in the waiting, the unfurling, the change.

So without further ado, here is the story.

There once was a little caterpillar, who loved to run and play with all of his friends in the garden. They would play chase, and hide and seek, and mother may I all day long. Sometimes, caterpillar was having so much fun, that he didn't even want to stop to eat. But all his other little caterpillar friends were eating. More and more they were eating each day. Munching away. And soon, they weren't playing as much. One day, all the other caterpillars, climbed up a tree and hung upside down from the branches.

"What are you doing?" Little Caterpillar cried. "Let's play. The sun is shining bright and you're just hanging there!"

"We're making a cocoon," they replied. "In a few weeks, we will be beautiful butterflies."

"A few weeks?" whined little caterpillar. "But that's so long! And sitting in a cocoon sounds so boring!"

The other caterpillars just laughed and sang,

Silly caterpillar, Try not to whine and cry.
You need a little patience, to become a butterfly.

And no matter how Caterpillar whined and moaned and begged his friends to come back and play with him, they simply would not and soon they were all snug in their cocoons, and could not talk at all.

"Hmph, well I'll just find someone else to play with," said little Caterpillar. He creeped off to another corner of the garden, next to some big, red tomatoes, where he found a little garden fairy.

"You stay away from these tomatoes," said the little garden fairy. "I've worked very hard to make them nice and plump and juicy."

"I don't want your tomatoes," said little Caterpillar. "I want to play. Will you play with me?"

The fairy fluttered her silvery wings. "Yes! I love to play. Let's have a race, shall we?"

"Okay," agreed little Caterpillar. He always loved a good race. "How about all the way to the radishes?"

The fairy agreed and off they went. Little Caterpillar did his best to keep up, but he had so many rocks to climb over and the fairy just zipped through the air. She beat him by a mile. When caterpillar finally made it to the first radish, he was tired and out of breath.

"It's not fair," he whined. "You can fly and I can't."

"Sorry," said the fairy, for she was truly a good natured soul and didn't want anyone to feel sad. "But one day you will have wings like me, when you are a beautiful butterfly. And then we can race again and see who wins."

"Oh, that will take too long," whined the caterpillar. "I want to win a race now! Not when I'm a butterfly."

The fairy laughed as she flew away and chanted.

Silly caterpillar, Try not to whine and cry.
You need a little patience, to become a butterfly.

Little Caterpillar looked up at the tree and all his friends hanging in their cocoons. It did seem nice, to be able to fly. But, oh, wouldn't it be so boring to just hang around in a sack doing nothing? The thought was so horrible, that little Caterpillar began to cry.

Just then, a beautiful butterfly with lovely, purple wings fluttered past little caterpillar. "Why are you crying?" he asked.

"I want to become a butterfly so I can fly fast and play with my friends, but...I don't want to sit in a cocoon for so two weeks. It's so long. And so boring!"

The butterfly said, "Oh, I understand. But really it's not boring at all. Because the whole time you're in you're cocoon, your body is growing the most beautiful wings. And your brain is learning how to flap your wings and fly, and get nectar from the flowers. The waiting is the most important part. Otherwise, what kind of butterfly would you be, but one that can't fly or play?"

The caterpillar thought about that for a moment. "Well, I do want to be a butterfly that plays and flutters."

"Of course, you do," said the butterfly. "Now get up there and make your cocoon."

With that the butterfly flew away and Little Caterpillar started climbing up the tree. He chanted to himself.

Come on Caterpillar, today's your day to try.
It takes a little patience to become a butterfly.

Butterfly hung himself upside down, and wrapped himself up nice and tight in his cocoon, and for the next two weeks, he waited, and grew, and learned, and changed. And finally, FINALLY, the big day arrived. Caterpillar broke out of his cocoon, unfurled his wings and flew into the bright blue sky. His friends had already emerged and he went off to find them, ready to play and race and explore.

The end.

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