We went to the Ritz Carlton downtown on Easter Sunday just because the weather was nice enough to do so. There was an egg hunt for kids… 500 eggs and 12 of them were golden eggs that were supposed to hold something special – although we never found out what. We were asked to leave one particular roped off area to go to another side – told that would be the only side that the ‘gate’ would be opened and kids would be allowed to go in and collect eggs. We followed the rules: I told my kids to have fun and try not to knock anyone over. Sadly many other parents hadn’t passed on the same message. While the supervisor from the Ritz Carlton was making announcements and counting down from 10, tons of other kids swarmed the surrounding gates and walls – jumping over and collecting all the eggs before most other (smaller) kids could. It is shocking that the parents sat idly by and took their kids’ photos while they did this – ignoring the security guard’s warning to stay back.
Ironically there was a story on NPR the next morning – talking about how compliance sometimes doesn’t work. That breaking the rules is often a necessity. And I struggle with how to teach this to my kids – or even to myself for that matter. Maybe the neatest way is to allow “breaking the rules” for competition that looks like it could go rogue – like an egg hunt? Go after what you want? When does that apply and when does it not? The NPR story pointed out the people who were told to return to their desks when the North Tower was hit on 9-11 — how do you know when to be compliant and when to trust intuition and at what cost?
It seems hardly appropriate to compare an egg hunt to the Twin Towers going down but – HOW does one know whose rules to follow, let alone try to teach this to small children?
In the end my kids got one egg each – but when Ezra heard a smaller girl crying behind him, he generously handed her his only egg. A gesture that is such a bigger winner than getting a golden plastic egg. The mother returned with some Cadbury eggs for my kids and said they were the nicest children she’d ever met. How can I not feel this is a bigger reward and better lesson for them to learn?