Tis the season for giving, yet as any parent knows, the giving season is actually January through December. Naturally, we are there financially for our children when they are growing, but how much should we be giving them, once they’ve moved into young adulthood?
We think author Paulo Coelho’s “The Lesson of the Butterfly” frames this issue beautifully:
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.
For a more financially-angled discussion of this issue, click here to listen in to a recent interview with Barry on the Money Show with Bruce Whitfield on Radio 702/Cape Talk.
Wishing our clients and extended families a relaxing festive season, and a happy and healthy 2016.