Hunger Games and Easter Egg Hunts

On a scale of 1 to 10, how wrong is it to allow your child to cheat at a game?

I suppose I should add that the game was also taking place IN A CHURCH.

Okay, AND it was a game centered around a holiday which celebrates Jesus' defeat over sin.  

You've probably heard of it...Easter.  


The game of which I speak is none other than the beloved Easter Egg Hunt.  That age old competition between young children dressed to the nines in little pastel colored dresses and miniature suits and ties, while toting around adorable little Easter baskets with fake grass in them.  

We've had some unfortunate experiences with egg hunts in the past.  

A few years ago we took our kids to a humongous egg hunt (10,000 eggs!) and, after waiting for thirty minutes for the hunt to get a very late start, ended up with ONE lousy Easter egg (which cost us $15),  TWO very unhappy little girls, and one resolute vow to NEVER do that again.  It was a total madhouse.  Little bodies running a mock everywhere!  They were like a termite infestation, crawling all over each other and devouring everything in their path.  It was a little frightening, really.  My girls were slightly traumatized and just stood there virtually paralyzed in a sea of screaming children searching and clawing for the plastic treasures all over the lovely grass.  

So, with a few years parenting experience under our belt, we've learned to give our little egg hunters a few helpful hints along the way.  It occurred to me that we are a little like Haymitch in the Hunger Games, advising our tributes in the best way to survive and win the game.  (Now before I start any rumors, the comparison breaks down a little since Haymitch was an alcoholic, but work with me here.)


 

We tell them that they must overcome the temptation to go for the easy eggs nearly within their reach when the race begins.  Pass them by, girls!  Run!  Find someplace where nobody else is!  Solitude is the key to success!  

However, at this year's recent egg hunt at my youngest child's Mother's Day Out "school", two of my kids ignored my advice and decided to form an alliance.  The hunt was for preschool children mostly ages three and four, but my oldest daughter tagged along with her own plans for victory (you must remember she directly benefited from her sister acquiring a large number of candy filled eggs).  She had enough egg hunt experience to qualify her as a Career (if you have not read the Hunger Games, this will make no sense whatsoever to you....join us and go read it).

I watched my sweet little girl happily frolicking around the church lobby, cluelessly passing by egg after egg in plain view.  

It was just more than my little "Career" child could take.  

Suddenly she was in there leading her three-year-old sister by the hand and pointing at eggs Leighanne would otherwise miss. It was not unlike the Tributes receiving an unexpected source of help in the form of a parachute.   It went a little something like this:



I began feeling slightly uncomfortable.  



Other parents were standing around watching their strategy and without fail began subtly looking my way to see if I would do anything about it.  

But to be fair, most of their kids were still stuck in the "bloodbath" at the starting point of the hunt.  They were fighting it out over the easy eggs and paying the price for it by losing out on the bigger picture.  These were kids who could have benefited from having a Haymitch as their mentor.  



So, I don't know.  Maybe egg hunts where kids turn into nearly ravenous, rabid beasts in pursuit of cheap plastic eggs is not the best way to remember the true meaning of Easter.  I guess I need to add "allowed cheating" to my list of motherly confessions.   

Where's that leftover Easter candy?  I need some comfort food.  


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