It was a beautiful spring morning at Montessori Tides School. Ms Barbara, a Primary Assistant, along with a few students, was actively preparing our 2012 Butterfly Garden. The children were rotating to plant their plants and I just happen to be there to witness this experience. Fortunately long enough to grab a few pictures of this tangible moment. As one child was all finished – digging, planting, and watering, Ms. Barbara noticed a caterpillar on a leaf. Still moving in the momentum of things, I took a picture of the caterpillar, not thinking much of it.
Later that day, as I was uploading my photos, I ran back across the photo of the caterpillar, and my heart began to chime. “If I am going to walk in my wildest dreams then I am going to have to change. Otherwise, this caterpillar would already have his wings.”
I was struck by this vivid picture that played its self over and over in my mind for several weeks. It was so vivid and stunning I was in awe of its possible meaning. There it was right before my eyes, a caterpillar – a symbolic form of the “inner drive of a child” or as some may say, a “child like faith”. (Neither one is incorrect. They both suffice to say the spirit of a child knows no bound.)
I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite childhood books. Maybe you have read it, “Miller, The Green Caterpillar”. He dreamt one day he would fly. He positioned himself on every flower and sapling and tree as he tried to get close to the sky. He tried to discover the secret that might allow him to fly.
Miller, the green caterpillar, had a vision. He knew if he believed, he could make the vision come true. He asked everybody around, if anyone knew how a green caterpillar could get himself off the grown. But afraid his dream would never come true Miller grew discouraged and the green caterpillar began to weave a cocoon. He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know why it was his time. Something was urging him onward; a clock only he could hear chime.
Tucked away is his cocoon Miller began to change. He never let go of the vision of him flying in wide-open spaces as fast as an eagle, rushing ahead of the wind. Then, one day, Miller witnessed a miracle as his wings began to unfold.
So what can we take form the account of Miller, the green caterpillar?
Despite the opposition Miller faced at his first attempts to fly, the sound of the inner chime ringing was his spirit urging him onward into a destiny he had not yet reached. Like a child has an inner drive. It was Maria Montessori who said, “growth is not merely a Harmonious increase in size, but a transformation”. The best part of the whole account. We too (adults), can go through this beautiful transformation as we follow our inner drive, our spirit, which is like that of a child. A powerful and motivating truth that we can live from affirming us to have a destiny we have not yet reached.
Like the story of Miller, the green caterpillar, a child transforms unconsciously. As an adult we transform consciously, actively choosing to position ourselves to live from this place. Imagine if we could be this caterpillar in our jobs, families, and social gatherings. We could be well positioned for the sky and believing we will fly. We might just experience a miracle as our wings begin to unfold. Now I don’t think I have my wings, nor do I want to remain tucked in my comfy cocoon unchanged. I want to be open to go through the greatest transformation alive.