Yesterday, my husband and I took our 2 1/2 year old son to an Easter Egg Hunt. Okay, it wasn't so much a "hunt" as it was a "grab." All of the eggs were sitting on a lawn, in plain view. The orchestrators of the event lined everyone up against a ribbon to wait for the start of the hunt. My husband held my son and my son held his basket. The line up against the ribbon was bout five people thick, and my husband and son stood about four people ways from the ribbon. I stood a ways away with our sleeping infant, watching.
The orchestrators rang the bell, and I lost sight of my husband and son. I searched for them in the crowd of screaming, scampering children and screaming, scampering adults. After only about five minutes, I saw them coming my way. My son's lip was downturned, trembling. My husband was shaking his head. My son held out his empty basket. "Boys, girls, took all eggs," he told me.
My husband said it had been a clean sweep, the wall of people in front of them impossible to penetrate. He said adults were pushing him to get in front of him, were sending children under his legs to grab eggs in front of him. I saw other disappointed children pass by us. I could tell that some of them had come from lower-income communities, and were leaving empty-handed. I also saw children with many eggs in their baskets.
Today, I saw this article about an Easter egg hunt that went even more awry than ours. Parents were pushing each other, breaking rules, shoving children out of the way. And here's the part of this that really gets me. The eggs at these hunts likely contain a few pieces of candy, or some trinkets that will soon be discarded. Not many of the children participating really need anything they will collect.
Yes, I get that the fun of the hunt is grabbing as many eggs as possible. I get that it's a game. I'm not trying to be an Easter Scrooge. But I am saying that I think we are better than this. I think we can set better examples for our children on how to be polite, how to share, how to watch out for each other.
In the end, my husband ran to the store to get some eggs for my son. He carefully filled them with treats and toys, and he placed them in the lawn outside our building. My son was thrilled and we had a lovely afternoon together. Maybe we should have taken the opportunity to teach him about working through disappointment, or to teach him that happiness doesn't come from having physical things. But we didn't. We aren't perfect. It's okay that none of us are perfect. But maybe we can work together on being a little bit better.
A Fellow Parent