This morning we dressed in our Easter best and headed over our neighborhood’s largest park for the HOA’s neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt! Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny, game booths and prizes, a crafting station, face painting, big bouncers, and tons of eggs with candy inside—fun! This was Katie’s third time at the hunt and Eric’s first. Katie tried the game booths this year and made a colored sand-filled plastic egg necklace.

Katie and Eric with Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny

Eric found this purple egg himself!

Sharing  a basket

Katie still got to hunt for eggs on the “Four and Under” part of the field, where the plentiful eggs are in plain sight. Although she has many eggs in her basket, it is by no means full—because she had an amazing moment of epiphany. She had gathered her eggs, looked around at all the younger children still trying…and said, “I have enough. I don’t need any more eggs.” She wanted to leave some for the rest of the children.

The greed instinct is difficult to suppress in my own self, despite my working on it. Yet here is my beautiful 3.5-year-old daughter who saw the beauty and pragmatics of restraint of her own accord this morning. I, an adult, even had a moment of, “Really?!? Let’s keep getting them!” in my own head. Hers was the wiser voice.

Just because something is easy to get or to take…well, that doesn’t mean we should.

The art of restraint is one I try to cultivate constantly, with very modest and moderate success. Not just with things, or with want, but also in my relationships or even what I choose to put out into the world. Restraint is difficult, and I fail often. I admire people like my cousin, Hannah, whom I have never (to my recollection anyway) heard gossip about anyone in many hours of conversation. After hitting my gossipy pinnacle while working as a teacher (it is difficult to avoid in the high school environment, but to my shame that is no excuse), I have worked hard over the past three years to lower my rate. It is not always easy finding topics of conversation that do not include people I know, so if I talk about people at all, I try to keep it positive and non-judgmental. It’s tough. It will be something I have to work on my whole life. My instinctual nature is not as glamorous as I wish it was, obviously, so it needs to be governed by a code of moral conduct. One of the reasons I love to visit with Hannah is that she seems to avoid negative discussions about people so easily and never even “goes there.”

As for Katie: Katie had a glimmer of a life of restraint today. What a gift to see! Being three she has a ways to go, yet being thirty-one, I have a ways to go, too. Today she showed understanding of principle. If the ideal is to act always on principles, the first step is at least knowing what they ought to be. She reminded and taught me today, and that is a joy.

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