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Let the children enjoy the holidays

April 1, 2012
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

Holidays, no matter what type they might be, should always be about having fun and enjoying your time with family and friends.

It's about making memories together and enjoying the experience, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day or even Groundhog Day.

It shouldn't be about pushing others around or ruining the experience of others.

With Easter coming up for many of us next weekend, I hope this is something we all can keep in mind.

There are sure to be lots of events for the Easter holiday, and many of them are probably going to be aimed more at the children. There are going to be egg hunts and visits to see the Easter Bunny and probably a few parties.

Unfortunately, there sometimes are people who get so caught up in making the holiday "perfect" that they ruin it for everyone.

Recently, a group in Colorado Springs announced it was canceling its annual Easter egg hunt; an event people from the community look forward to each year to provide a fun activity for the local kids.

It wasn't because of a lack of funding or expected bad weather or even a lack of volunteers. Nope, it was canceled because of an extreme case of "helicopter parents."

We all know the kind. Those parents who feel they have to be a part of every moment of their child's life and can't let them make any decision on their own.

It's OK?to "hover" when they are incredibly young, and to even be there as they get older. It's all part of parenting.

What isn't OK is to do it so much that it will ruin the experience for everyone.

Apparently, in the Colorado Springs case, there were parents that went so far as to find ways to prevent other kids from getting any eggs just so their kids could get a bunch of them.

Now, I'm not a parent but I still know that's not right. No parent should ruin an event for someone else just because of their own sense of competitiveness. I understand some of these events have some nice prizes, but if it's that important to make sure your kid gets a toy at the expense of the happiness of someone else, you should go buy it yourself.

When I was a kid, it was more of a family thing to have an Easter egg hunt.

It was something to do on Easter Sunday before we had dinner. Eggs were hidden throughout the yard, and it was up to my brother, sister and I to find them all.

There weren't little treats hidden inside and we didn't get a prize for finding the most eggs. It was just something fun for us.

As I got a little older, I would sometimes take over hiding the eggs, and eventually it was something we did for my younger cousins.

Again, there were no prizes for finding the most or getting your hands on a special egg. It was all just for fun.

I know locally, most of the egg hunts try to find ways to be fair. They will either just put a few pieces of candy in all of them, or they set up the "one egg" rule. That's where once a kid gets once egg, they are finished.

Of course, there have still been a few parents try to get involved and slyly pick up an extra egg when they think the organizers aren't looking.

It's not a good message to send to our kids, and, unfortunately, it seems like a lot of it is happening with parents from my generation.

Holiday parties and activities should be about having fun and enjoying the moment. It shouldn't be about going out and trying to "win" at all costs.

You see, in my world at least, that kind of thing is called cheating and being a bully.

I would wonder how they would feel if other parents were to do the same thing and their kids ended up not getting any of those little pieces of plastic.

Everyone is going to have good and bad experiences, and they are going to have to learn from those experiences as they grow up.

There are going to be victories and defeats, excitement and disappointment.

Competition can be a good thing when framed in the proper way. But as adults, we shouldn't be trying to constantly push ourselves into those moments.

We wouldn't hop up to the plate when it was our kid's turn at bat, or get up on stage to spell their word during a spelling bee, would we?

So why in the world would we grab a bunch of eggs just to guarantee our kid goes home with the most.

I know it's not something I could ever do. Just imagine greedily snatching up all the eggs I could find when it's supposed to be about the kids, and then turning around to see some little child starting to cry because there were no eggs left for them.

It's about the children, everyone, not us and our egos.

Don't ruin the holiday or party for someone else just because you think your kid always has to be the best.

Let them go out and just enjoy the experience for what it is; a chance to have some fun and make some memories.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at

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