We recently attended a huge egg hunt with a myriad of kids and parents. It is an annual tradition and we usually have a blast. This year, a variety of circumstances changed and as a result, so did the hunt. This fun-filled tradition ended up being full of life lessons rather than laughter. That leads us right to the rules of life and the lessons learned from the egg hunt.
Rule 1: Life happens. Be early or on time.
We made it with only a few minutes to spare. Traffic happens, life happens. Be ready, but be on time.
The early bird does get the worm. Those minutes to spare put us far back in the line-up.
However, I taught my children to be polite and wait their turn. When the bell rang to initiate the hunt, all of the children would all be in the same place. “Just be patient and wait your turn,” I reminded them.
My two children did just that. They were so excited.
Rule 2: Everyone does not follow the rules. Do not let a poor example ruin your day.
One minute before the bell rang, a parent not only placed herself in front of my children, but also moved her children in front of mine as well.
What was I to do? Decisions decisions… It was a trying moment for me (to say the least), and I had many phrases in my head that I did not want my children to hear me say.
It was a moment to display self-control. I took a deep breathe and loudly stated my apologies that not everyone in life plays by the rules (as steam was likely coming off of my scalp)!
I smiled and told them to have fun!
Rule 3: Be your own advocate and speak up when necessary.
Seconds later, the bell rang. That woman was a steady blockade to both of my children and unfortunately the crowd had no other holes for my children to sneak through. I had to step in at that point, politely excuse my children, and get them into the hunt!
My children were watching my every move carefully, and I had to decisively think through my every word and action.
My words needed to echo what I want them to know and learn in life. “Careful what you say, Children will listen…“
Rule 4: You can’t always get what you want.
Minutes later, the hunt was over. My son was easy to spot. He had very few eggs but wore a smile anyway. My Kelsey was harder to locate because she was persistent and still on a mission to find a single egg to call her own.
It did not happen.
Kelsey came out of the hunt completely empty handed.
I was certainly rethinking my earlier patience, but also reminded myself that this was a teachable moment.
Rule 5: Your family will always be there when you need them.
Consequently, those minutes and my patience cost Kelsey her eggs this year. Her will was strong and her determination fierce, but with an empty basket, all she could do was run to me for a secure embrace.
I could not come up with an egg. They were gone within two minutes. I could only share the hug and tell her that there would be many more fruitful egg hunts in her future. There will be. I know that.
It did not help.
With that came her brother to offer her a few eggs of his own. He only had 6. It was a rather precious moment.
I may have allowed a mom to block my children, but I also had a few tears of pride when my son shared his eggs.
A brother was there for his sister. I must be doing something right.
Rule 6: Sometimes, a kind gesture happens when you least expect it.
At that precise moment (I kid you not), the same woman who blocked my children walked by with the largest basket around. It was overflowing with eggs… Boy was it hard to hold my tongue then and there.
I had to repeat, “Careful what you say, Children will listen…“
So I instead looked the other way, literally. It was all I could do to remain calm. What I saw when I chose to look at the situation differently was an entirely different perspective. I saw a very thoughtful parent and sibling pair approaching my emotionally charged scene. Her children had baskets with plenty of eggs, and I guess she watched our dramatic finish because her children offered some of their eggs to mine.
When one door closes, another one usually does open and the results are usually worth it.