Easter egg hunts teach life lessons

Spring is the most wonderful season of all. OK, so I covered some of that in my last column, the one about where the robins go in the spring, but this month I have even more reason to say it. I no longer have to be like a frozen robin huddled und...

Spring is the most wonderful season of all.

OK, so I covered some of that in my last column, the one about where the robins go in the spring, but this month I have even more reason to say it.

I no longer have to be like a frozen robin huddled under evergreen branches to stay warm. Spring, along with spring weather, is here!

Whats best of all, is its bright colors and warmth. The other day I even saw some perennials blooming in someones garden. The sky is blue, and the trees are budding.

Granted, winter weather could come back any day. The predicted lows are still only in the 30s, but for now, the warm weather is here.


Because it is near Easter, the thoughts of spring bring me back to Easter egg hunts. Spring, when it doesnt have snow, is usually the perfect time for them. The weather is usually nice and the egg hunts offer the opportunity to enjoy spring. I know Wadena has an Easter egg hunt every year, and many families have their own Easter egg hunts as well. My extended family of 102 aunts, uncles and cousins also have an Easter egg hunt every year. I dont know how the other egg hunts are conducted, but from the family ones Ive attended, I assume theyre fun, chaotic and looked forward to every year.

I remember one of my first egg hunts. I think I was even too sick to really be outside (I have some weird tendency to get sick around holidays), but I decided that I wanted to hunt for eggs. My uncles hid the brightly colored plastic eggs around one of my aunts yard. They found all sorts of places to hide the eggs, in trees, in buckets, in dips in the grass and in lawn ornaments. My aunt joked that she would be the one who would end up finding the most eggs. She would find them mowing the lawn and hearing something pop. After anxiously waiting in my aunts basement while my uncles hid the eggs, we cousins I think there were about 20 at the time were all released together. We scrambled through the yard in zig-zag fashions, while being careful not to drop our basket of eggs, even though someone did every year. My brother and I sure did find a lot of eggs that first year and other years, too. Consequently, we acquired a lot of candy that was stuffed in those eggs. At home, my mom poured all our candy into bowls, and I didnt think Ive ever seen so much candy at my disposal in my life. It was amazing.

As I grew older, the annual family Easter egg hunt became more organized. We were no longer all able to go out at the same time and look for eggs. We had to go out in groups, according to our ages. That way, our aunts figured, the older kids wouldnt take away all the eggs from the younger kids. I never did think this method was fair because the littlest kids got way too much time and ended up finding more eggs than anyone else. Of course I was in the older group, so I had a biased opinion, and there was no use arguing with my aunts.

When the very oldest cousins became old enough to hide the eggs instead of hunt for them, the hunt became a little more fair and had more challenges. The very oldest cousins hid the eggs at varying levels of difficultly. They hid eggs out in the open on the grass for the very youngest group, inside pots and under lawn ornaments for the second youngest group, in rain gutters and flower beds for the middle group, and buried under leaves and gravel for the older group. At this point the very oldest group didnt look for eggs anymore, of course, because they were the ones who hid them.

Somewhere in those years my grandma offered an additional incentive. In one of the eggs, no one knew which one, was not candy, but a slip of paper. The kid who found the egg with the slip of paper won a special treat from my grandma. In some years the prize was a huge stuffed bunny.

Eventually we older cousins moved up the ranks to fill and hide the eggs. I think we actually got more candy filling the eggs when hiding them because we ate the candy while we filled the eggs. Currently, I think the second youngest group is at the point where they are old enough to fill and hide the eggs, so that means well be able to eat even more candy when we are filling the eggs because fewer kids are looking for them. When a group advances to the filling and hiding age, the other groups dont really have a place to advance. The filling and hiding group just gets bigger every year.

I learned a lot from the egg hunting years, and Im still learning from the egg hiding years. Here are some tidbits Ive acquired:

" Bright, colorful treasures are everywhere, just waiting to be found. They are bright eggs and also bright sunny days, rainbows and blooming flowers.


" Treasures are hidden at varying levels of difficulty. Sometimes, a friend will leave a parcel right at your doorstep. Other times, youll really have to look for treasures. The perennials might be under snow, but if one digs them up, he or she could see them sprouting.

" Share the treasures you find. Accept gifts with gratitude and return kindness with kindness. When you find a bunch more eggs than someone else, sharing is always encouraged, especially if one of the other kids tripped and dropped all his eggs.

" Be a good sport. Someone will win the stuffed bunny, but not everyone. If youre not the lucky one, congratulate the winner. Maybe hell even let you play with the bunny. Then share your bowl of malted milk balls.

" The search is about adventure and discovery. If its purpose really were to get candy, adults could just buy you a bag, which be a lot easier for them. The candy the kids find should be what theyve earned through fun and successful efforts.

" Finally, when youre old enough, help the next group of kids. Make the environment better for them, and dont forget to treat yourself to a few jellybeans when you do.

What To Read Next
Get Local