I’ve participated or observed a lot of Easter Egg hunts in my life and can’t say that I’ve ever come away with a particularly good memory of any of them. The public or even church-sponsored Easter Egg hunts seem to turn into a survival of the fittest with many parents helping with the pushing and grabbing of eggs for their darlings.
When I was growing up, the first year our parish was completed and up and running, the pastor decided to have an Easter Egg hunt behind the church in the large grassy area of property. There was to be a hunt after each Mass with volunteers happily replenishing the eggs during the next Mass. Seems that even though we were quite rural, word got out and many neighbor children raided the grassy fields and the usual prejudice they usually had against us ‘encroaching Catholics’ didn’t mar the desire for ‘Catholic’ goodies set out for the parish children. Even with chasing off the interlopers, the onslaught of children from Mass disregarded blessings recently received there and laid siege to the field. There wasn’t another such event ever in the church after that.
Fast forward to when I had my own children: There was an Easter Egg hunt at our parish at the time, the first ever! My children were under five years old and very excited. The parish thought they had it figured out and set aside a lawn for the under five set with plenty of eggs in plain sight. Their flaw in the theory? When they sounded the beginning of the hunt, the older children ran across this area on their way to their hunting grounds . . . scooping up eggs as they went leaving the little ones standing in a harvested patch of grass, empty baskets in hand. I don’t think that parish ever hosted one again. And, yes, aggressive parents raced around with their children ‘helping’ them find the eggs. Something wrong with an event when children near shaving age have an overflowing bucket of eggs. It makes one wonder why people would fight so hard for hard-boiled eggs?
I recently read that a fire department in the US decided to cancel their plans for an annual Easter Egg hunt because the cost of possible lawsuits would be expensive. Again, the parents were the reason as they had had incidents of parents helping to push aside other children in order for their own ‘darlings’ to grab the most and best of any finds.
It must be something in the air once the world ‘Easter Egg Hunt’ is said out loud. I had a small family gathering, years ago, and thought that I could oversee a fun, safe, and Christian Easter Egg Hunt. I carefully schooled my children in being fair and charitable and not be greedy as they had already received generous baskets earlier in the morning from the Easter Bunny. Relatives arrived and the slightly older cousin whose mother bragged about being a near-saint in the making, pushed aside everyone ready to hunt, gathered up treats by the handful and had a great blocking mode to keep anyone else from getting anything. I guess you can say the kid won the event as he was the only one who got any treats. Guess who else never hosted an Easter Egg Hunt ever again?
Say to think that the ‘helpful’ parents at these events only provided them children with momentary treats while raising parents who would probably act the same way when they had their own children.