author unknown

A family in my neighborhood once brought in two chrysalides that were just about to hatch. They watched as the first one began to open, and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed in one end of the chrysalis. After lying exhausted for about ten minutes following its agonizing emergence, the butterfly finally flew out the open window on its beautiful wings.

The family decided to help the second butterfly so that it would not have to go through such an excruciating ordeal. So, as it began to emerge, they carefully sliced open the chrysalis with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a Caesarean section. The second butterfly never did spread its wings, and in about ten minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died.

The family asked a biologist friend to explain what had happened. The scientist said that the difficult struggle to emerge from the small hole actually pushes liquids from deep inside the butterfly's body cavity into the tiny capillaries in the wings, where they harden to complete the healthy and beautiful adult butterfly.

Without the struggle, there are no wings.


A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a rich land not far away, there lived an old king. The old king was known for his bad temper, which was feared by his subjects, his family, and his advisers. The king’s disposition was always foul, but it was worst when he received news not to his liking. As a result, even the king’s senior adviser did not always advise the king truthfully.

One day the senior adviser learned of a terrible drought in the farmlands. Knowing that the king would be displeased with the news, the senior adviser tried to think of a way to avoid the king’s anger. He was not looking forward to the daily meeting with the king.
“What news do you have for me today?” asked the king.

“O most wonderful king,” the adviser reported, “I have good news! The sun is shining more this year than last.”

And so the adviser avoided the king’s anger.

The next week the adviser learned that the drought would mean less grain for the kingdom. Unwilling to bring the news to the king, the adviser joyfully reported, “The harvest will be finished in half the time of last year’s.”

The next month, riots become so violent that the police had to be called out. Knowing this to be the worst of all, the adviser only told the king, “The police are showing outstanding loyalty to your highness.”

The adviser made no more reports. The kingdom was no longer rich. No one cared about the former king’s bad temper. And no one lived happily ever after.

Like many fairy tales, this one has a moral: If we are to benefit from our personal communication, we must work to develop a climate that will encourage others to communicate honestly, openly, and frequently. Although this kind of communication might seem automatic, we are often caught in the role of either the king or the adviser.

Taken from More than Talking by Diana Prentice and James Payne, page 119