There is a story of a young boy who one day found a large caterpillar while playing in the forest.  He really liked the caterpillar, and so he brought it home to take care of it, placing it in a jar where he kept it fed.   Then one day he watched as the caterpillar began to wrap itself into a cocoon, and the boy became excited, knowing that in a short time the caterpillar would transform into a beautiful butterfly.

The boy checked the cocoon daily, and soon saw that it was starting to crack as the butterfly was beginning to break free.  The boy however noticed that rather than happening quickly, the butterfly was tearing out of its cocoon very slowly, appearing to be struggling as it did.  Concerned and wanting to help it, the boy fetched a knife and very carefully cut open the rest of the cocoon to help the butterfly escape.

The boy was eager, expecting to see the beautiful butterfly open its wings and begin to fly.  But something was wrong.  Instead of having large, powerful wings capable of flight, the wings were small and feeble, unable to lift the butterfly into the air despite its efforts to try.  The boy also noticed that its body appeared deformed, seeming to still look more like a caterpillar than a butterfly.

Now greatly concerned for the creature, the boy went to find his father and brought him back to look at the butterfly.  When the father realized that his son had cut open the cocoon, he sighed and looked down at his son with empathy.

“I know that you wanted to help the butterfly,” the father said, “but by cutting open the cocoon you’ve actually weakened it.  You see, the process of escaping that cocoon is supposed to be difficult.  Struggling is part of what causes the butterfly to grow and develop, to finish transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly.  Without the challenge of escaping the cocoon, the butterfly was not forced to finish maturing, and as a result it will never be able to fly.”

Just like the butterfly and its cocoon in this story, we humans face our own catalysts that cause us to grow and mature, if we don’t run from them or try to take the easy way out to avoid them.  Catalysts come in many shapes.  It can be sudden requirements to learn new skills for work.  It can be an unexpected loss of important clients for your business.  Or it could be unanticipated personal or family difficulties.  Don’t run from these challenges, these catalysts.  Embrace them, and let them transform you into a better and even more mature version of you.


Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is a healthcare IT consultant with six Epic Systems certifications. He is also
a partner at Appalachian Digital, a local web development agency, and a founding partner of
MHQC LLC Real Estate Development. He and his wife Erin are natives of Kingsport, TN.