Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I Think Color-Coordinated Easter Egg Hunts Are Ridiculous

Slowly but surely my various different social media news feeds are beginning to get cluttered with the latest Easter ideas. Crafts, baked goods, clothes, etc. I like a good Easter craft or new idea as much as the next person, but today, I saw something that I didn't like. No sir, I didn't like it one little bit - the color coordinated Easter egg hunt.

Picture courtesy of Oriental Trading Company

The idea is to give each child participating in the hunt one specific color egg to find. Why? So that every child gets the same number of eggs and one kid doesn't have an overflowing bucket. 

My first reaction was that this wasn't a bad idea. No one likes their kid to be the one with the least eggs, amiright? However, the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it. In my opinion it is like soccer leagues who don't keep score because they don't want the losing team to be upset. Or dance companies who give all the girls trophies at the end of the year just for participating, regardless of whether or not they suck.

Life is full of disappointments. I don't want my kids to be disappointed, in fact I go out of my way to try to make sure that I don't disappoint them by not promising to take them places and do things with them if I know I can't follow through. I am, however, realistic and know that they will eventually get their feelings hurt and feel let down. Why are we so intent on leveling the playing field for everyone? Why do we feel the need to wrap them up in cotton and shelter them from anything and everything that isn't sunshine, butterflies and freaking unicorns?

I am not saying that we should all go out and intentionally set our kids up to fail. If your daughter has two left feet, maybe gymnastics isn't the best thing to enroll her in. If your son has terrible hand-eye coordination, ping pong may not be for him. That said, if they are hell-bent on trying out for the team, let them! Let them figure it out for themselves. You may think you're protecting them, but you are laying the groundwork for resentment towards you by always telling them no and never letting them try.

I mentioned the coordinated Easter egg hunt to a couple of my kids, who are 9, at dinner tonight. They looked at me like I had two heads.

"Why would you want to do that?"
"The whole fun of it is the excitement of trying to get the most eggs!"
"What about the golden egg? Isn't there one? Does every kid get one? If that's the case, there may as well not be one at all because it isn't special anymore."

Even the kids think it is ridiculous. They did agree, however, that egg hunts should be separated by age. It isn't much fun to see a bunch of 10-year-old kids trample a group of 3-year-old toddlers. 

Doesn't healthy competition encourage kids to strive to be better? To practice and put forth effort? If everyone is allowed to win, what's the point in trying? Why do we bother telling our kids to try their hardest if the ones who don't try win as well?

We are raising a generation of self-important children who feel the world owes them something. Take the girl who recently tried to sue her parents. She didn't want to follow the family rules and moved out, yet still expected her parents to support her financially. Thank god that judge had enough sense about him to realize it would be setting a terrible precedence if he awarded her the child support she was going after.

What about the 300-plus kids who illegally entered former NFL player Brian Holloway's home and destroyed it, documenting the whole thing on Twitter. Over 170 tweets were posted during the course of the night. When Holloway managed to gather roughly 200 of those names and some of the pictures, he started a website identifying the teens. All of a sudden he was being labeled as the bad guy and parents were threatening to sue him. Seriously? If I had been involved in something like that as a teen (I never would, but hypothetically speaking) my parents would have whooped my butt and grounded me for life. I would have been made to go to the house and help clean up and apologize to Mr. Holloway. 

Why is it that the last couple of generations have not had to be held accountable for their actions? Don't like your parent's rules? Move out and sue them! Don't have anything better to do on a Saturday night? Go trash some home and then have your parents threaten to sue the owner for calling you out on it! Suck at t-ball? That's OK, you're gonna get a trophy anyway!

We need to do our offspring a favor and, while promising not to be outright dicks to them by shooting down everything they want to try, also promise that we will allow them to figure some things out for themselves. Let them fall and pick themselves back up. Allow them to try out for teams, fail, shake it off and either try again or try something new. Hold them accountable for their actions. Teach them that if they do wrong, there will be consequences.

Let's promise to be there, on the sidelines of life, cheering them on and encouraging them without mollycoddling them and setting them up for false expectations of adulthood and real life. 

And for goodness sake, let them collect as many Easter eggs as they can get their grubby little paws on!

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