Using A Butterfly Analogy to Explain the Levels of Development

Using A Butterfly Analogy to Explain the Levels of Development

The four levels (concepts) can be taught using examples from home, school, and/or personal experiences—as well as from stories and events around the world. Sharing examples of each level increases understanding and makes the concepts more meaningful and personal. Following is how a teacher introduced the concepts.


I began by reminding the students of the life cycle of a butterfly. They recalled that there are four stages of development: egg, caterpillar, pupa, and butterfly. We talked about how all butterflies are in some stage of this process but have no control over their movement through the process.

We then moved on to comparing the butterfly’s life cycle to that of humans. We decided that humans go through four basic stages as well. We called them: baby/infant, child/youth, adolescence/teen, and adult/grown-up. We agreed that humans, like the butterfly, have little control over stages of physical development.

Then we began to look at the four stages of social development in which one human and/or a society could operate. We talked about what a human and a society in anarchy would look like and how such a situation was so hopeless. Then we talked about what would likely occur to remedy the problems of an anarchy-based society. We decided that someone would rise up and take control of the situation (thereby bossing) and that this may or may not be a good thing. We looked at countries around the world where we thought this might have happened.

Next we moved on to looking at the level of control or power in a group of friends. We decided that a group of friends works together to share control based on what they agree is their mission and that oftentimes this mission and the group control is not ever discussed; it is more or less just understood among the group members. From here a discussion of blind conformity developed and how this type of cooperation is not necessarily good. We went on to look at how being considerate of others and cooperating for the right reasons resulted in a democratic society like the United States.

We decided that doing what is right because we know it is the best thing to do is a much higher level of development than doing what is right as a result of peer pressure. Finally, we talked about how we had more control over our stage of social development than we did over our stage of physical development. THE THOUGHT OF BEING IN CONTROL OVER SOMETHING ABOUT THEMSELVES heightened their interest in the Raise Responsibility System and the Levels of Development. I can carry the enthusiasm over to the effective use of the other components of the system.