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Five Tiny Caterpillars

Five tiny caterpillars arrived in a plastic cup as part of a butterfly science kit. Each day, the caterpillars ate and ate and grew bigger and bigger. One day, four were hanging from the top of the cup. By that evening, these four were wrapped in their cocoons.

But not the fifth caterpillar. He was still at the bottom. Moseying around. Exploring the cup. Eating more. Showing no signs of climbing to the top for his big transformation.

The girls would peer into the cup, talking to one another:

“He’s not ready yet.”

“That’s okay. Maybe he will be tomorrow.”

“Or maybe not. Maybe he will stay a caterpillar for 15 years.”

“Take your time, little caterpillar. We like watching you.”

“Go when you’re ready.”
“It’s up to you.” 

Isn’t that what we all want most when we are preparing for change? Not to feel rushed – to have someone respect that we get there at different times? To support and accept us wherever we are in the process of change? 

As the girls watched, patiently, the fifth caterpillar climbed slowly to the top. By the next morning, he was in his cocoon. 

Today, he was the first of the five to emerge as a beautiful butterfly.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.