One of my earliest childhood memories is of an Easter egg hunt that my dad’s company hosted when I was about three. On a sunny Saturday morning, the employees’ young children gathered in front of a building facing a big lawn where plastic eggs had been scattered. Someone said go, and a mob of older children sprinted onto the grass, grabbing eggs and shoving them into plastic bags. I was younger than most of the kids and wasn’t entirely sure what was happening. The eggs hadn’t been hidden well; it wasn’t a hunt so much as a race. My little legs couldn’t run very fast, and it seemed like every time my searching eyes spotted a brightly colored piece of plastic, someone else got to it before I did. Within a few minutes, all of the eggs had been captured. I had one lonely egg in my clear plastic bag.
A little boy a couple of years older than me saw me examining my single egg. His bag was at least half full; he’d been far more successful than me. He kindly offered me two of his eggs. I shyly accepted them and added them to my bag, which looked much less pathetic with a trio of plastic orbs. The little boy, full of energy, seemed excited not only to have captured so many treasures, but also to have shared his bounty. I thanked him and grinned as I showed my dad my collection.
I’m not sure why this vignette found its way into my long-term memory, but it obviously made an impression on me. The morals of the story:
- We all need a little help sometimes.
- A simple act of kindness can have a greater impact on someone than you expect.
- Giving feels at least as good as getting. An extra possession has greater value when given than when retained.
- Winning and losing isn’t everything. Greater joy can be found in finishing the race together than in taking home all the spoils yourself.
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