When I grow up I want to be a Butterfly
There was once a little girl who wished she could put on a sorting hat, like the one in Harry Potter, and it would tell her what she was supposed to be in life.
One day the little girl met a little boy and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied he wanted to be a puppy so he could play, sleep, and be loved all day. She added that she wanted to be a butterly. They both instantly knew they’d be friends.
The two friends grew up, went to college, and got jobs in the real world. Coincidentally, the jobs were right across the street from one another. The boy grew up to be more introverted and enjoyed exploring and researching things. Unfortunately his job didn’t allow him to spend much time digging deep into things he was interested in. During lunch the two would sometimes take walks and joke about running away to a forest where butterflies and lost puppies went.
The girl always invested her whole self in her job and one day the girl felt frustrated because she felt like she was not appreciated at work. That same day the two friends went for their normal lunch work hour walk. They got to talking and instead of turning back, like they normally did halfway through, the two agree to just keep walking. The walked all the way to a nearby park which was empty.
The two of them found a spot in the grass right under a big shade tree and the girl laid her head on its bumpy roots and soon fell asleep.
The girl then suddenly woke up but noticed her good friend was gone and that in his place there was a puppy sleeping in a little ball. Also she noticed that she was inside a forest and that she was a younger version of herself. The girl figured she must be dreaming and decided to just go with it.
The girl started walking and the puppy immediately followed. Soon the two met an owl. The owl said she used to be a young woman who worked at the library. The owl said that she loved to read books all day but then one day realized there were much larger problems outside of her library needing solving. The young woman then left the library and worked on helping solve the problems of the world. Unfortunately the young woman was not as happy as before since the world’s problems felt much heavier than all the books that she had read in the past.
The owl then joined the girl and the puppy. As the girl was walking a lizard ran across her shoe. The lizard informed them that he was a young engineer, one who worked on building cool projects that could reach space. Then one day it was time for him to graduate and get a job. He found a position at a top company which had amazing pay, great benefits, and a leading company culture. Even though his work technically touched millions of peoples’ lives he didn’t feel like he was actually touching anyone. He felt bored and wished to challenge himself with more ambitious and demanding problems.
Soon the gang of four, the girl and the three animals, came across a toad wearing a purple polka-dotted suit. The toad was carrying a walking stick. The toad stood tall, even though he was old, and asked why they were there. The girl said that she was lost and so were her friends. The toad asked what the girl wanted and how he could help her. The girl replied that all she wanted right now was to help her friends, to make them happy, and to make a difference in their lives. She asked the toad how she could do this. Also she asked the toad why she was not an animal in this land, like her new friends.
The toad said the answers to her questions would be at the river. He said to walk north and follow the sound of the water hitting the rocks.
The little gang of four soon became good friends as they journeyed deep into the forest towards the river. The girl became like a mother figure for the group, always setting a good example on how to travel safely and treat one another kindly. The girl was always thinking about what was best for each of her friends. For example she always asked the puppy to investigate the paths first and choose the best one for the group. She asked the owl to read the signs of the forest and tell the group about what she found. She asked the lizard to make safe bridges for them all to get across the swampy and dangerous parts of the forests. She herself was always looking to learn new things about the forest as well.
As the group reached the waters, the girl saw the toad again. He was dipping his slimy toes in the water as big waves splashed all around him and he laughed out loud. The girl called out to the toad but the toad couldn’t hear her. The girl then shouted, “We traveled all this way and I still don’t know the answers to my questions: How can I help my lost friends? What am I supposed to be in life?”
The toad smiled at her and hopped across the rocks but at the last hop the toad tripped and fell into the rushing waters. The lizard immediately grabbed a nearby branch, the owl flew up and grabbed the other side of the branch. They brought the branch to the toad but as soon as the toad grabbed the branch it broke. The puppy then jumped into the water and all three of the animals helped pull the toad out together before the girl could even do a thing to help. She stared with shock, relief, and guilt for not helping.
After the toad was on the shore and caught his breath again, he gave his typical toad smile and said to the girl, “All you wanted when we last spoke was to make a difference in your new friends’ lives. I think you have accomplished this. They are each more confident than the last time we met. Although they have more growing to do they are well on their way to fulfilling what they are here for.” The girl then looked back at her animal friends and instead she saw three humans including her old friend that she grew up with. As she stared at them she heard the toad saying in the background, “Even though you think you don’t know what you want to be yet, I think you do. You are meant to lead and to help create leaders. When you are yourself you give others permission to do the same.”