Eyes shining, standing tall with an unrivaled air of confidence, two kindergarteners glow as they tell me how they just worked out a problem. A child struggling with transition grows into a confident student. A student works hard to maintain the strength to just show up. Children, whose grief from the death of a parent is omnipresent, still support one another and value someone else who “gets it.”
Quotes in counselors’ offices may seem cliché: “Nothing is worth more than this day;” “What you feed will grow;” And the one about a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Then there is another, posted for my eyes only, place where I can’t help by glance at it many times throughout the day: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” These words of wisdom serve to remind me of the significance of love and belonging: the fuel of faith in oneself. It’s the little things—recognition, being heard, being with—that help form a strong foundation of belief in oneself.
It is a moment, a word of encouragement, a special acknowledgement or mission accomplished (however small or insignificant it may seem.) The final turning point can be undetermined, unknown. It can feel like it takes so much and so long to get there, but thin it is markedly there. The feeling of love, belonging, a sense of deep appreciation, which fuels faith, hope and confidence, turning caterpillars into butterflies.