Each of my daughters has struggled at times when they are out of their comfort zone. Whether it’s a new job, a new situation, or when they first leave home to live on their own, the newness of their experiences can feel overwhelming. Whenever they reach out to share their discomfort, I like to text them the butterfly emoji. They know what it means.
The butterfly is a symbol of growth and transformation. In order for the caterpillar to transform itself into a butterfly, it must struggle in the cocoon. It is this struggle that gives the butterfly’s wings the strength to fly. The struggle is a necessary part of growth.
As parents, we often want to save our children from the struggle, but doing so denies them the ability to gain the strength and resilience they need to fly. If we help them by trying to protect them from discomfort, we are, in essence, opening the cocoon from the outside before the wings are fully developed.
To support my daughters, I try to listen to their fears and validate their worthiness. I let them know I have full confidence in their ability to handle whatever comes their way. By giving them the responsibility to navigate their own lives, they gain strength and confidence.
I always follow up with a heart emoji. They know what that means, too.