Headshot of Covington Doan by Paul Jun

Covington Doan

Growing pains

One of my favorite books growing up was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

I loved that the pages had holes in them. It looked like the very hungry caterpillar had eaten through them! You didn't see the very hungry caterpillar on those pages. I imagined he was off happily eating and growing.

It turns out that the feeding stage of a butterfly's life cycle involves a lot of growing pains. As a caterpillar eats and grows, its skin splits (ouch!) and the caterpillar sheds the broken skin. A caterpillar will repeat this process four to five times before forming a chrysalis, which involves it shedding its skin one last time.

We know what happens next. The very hungry caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. The eating, growing, and shedding were all part of that process.

Change involves discarding the old. The caterpillar sheds its old skin multiple times in order to grow and eventually become a beautiful butterfly. We too must shed our old skin in order to grow and change.