If there is one thing that I want my children to understand as early on in their lives as possible, it is the power of kindness. It costs nothing to be kind. We always have something to give, even if it is a warm smile or a hug or a wave hello.
With so many crazy things happening in this world, I want my children to be empowered to be the good in the world, to be change agents and to understand that their voice and their actions can and will be heard regardless of how young they are… so, they need to use them wisely.
I am really proud of our children’s kindness and generosity. While our 2 year old, Mr. O is still sort of “along for the ride” in terms of what he does and doesn’t do, 5 year old, Miss M and 4 year old, Mr. C are really starting to show that they are living with intention. They are compassionate, generous, kind and they really do think and care about the well-being of others. It makes my heart swell with pride.
At Christmastime, just like every other year, I explained to them that there are other children who are not as fortunate as them and may not have as many toys to play with… we talked about how it would be really generous and kind of them to purge their playroom and give some toys away so that other children could enjoy them (and so that we can part with a few toys before Santa essentially dumps Toys ‘R’ Us all over our living room.)
Previous years have been met with a bit of resistance, understandably. As soon as a toy that hasn’t been played with in a year is going in a box to be donated, it becomes the favourite toy. There have been tears and there have been toys rescued from the donation bin. And, that’s okay. It’s all part of learning. I certainly do not want them to associate negative feelings with being charitable and generous.
However, this year, my little ones really seemed to get it. They were so generous and so excited about giving toys to children who could use them that we ended up with too many to even transport to a donation drop-off spot. We ended up setting up a table on our front lawn and covering it and the ground around it with toys, toys and more toys. Because it started to snow, we set up a pop-up tent over it to weather-proof it and our kids created a sign to encourage people to help themselves.
I used social media to advertise our toy giveaway in hopes of reaching out to families in our own community who could use a little extra help over Christmas and we were successful. We were so successful that we caused a bit of a traffic jam on our quiet crescent on Christmas Eve. I would estimate that we had at least 40 people stop and help themselves to our stash.
Our kids watched with absolute glee from our living room window as cars rolled up and happy moms and dads “shopped” through our goods, selecting an item or two for their children. Miss M and Mr. C speculated whether their toys would be given to boys or girls and were sure that those kids would love them as much as they did. Our little tented display of stuff on the curb also caused my brother-in-law to turn on to our street on his way over for Christmas Day brunch and ask my sister “What the F are they doing?” which still cracks me up to this day.
It was no surprise that when Easter rolled around that our little ones would be just as kind and just as generous. After being at a couple of Easter Egg hunts already, our home was filled with Easter treats that I knew we would never appreciate or use. I really wanted to figure out a way to encourage our children to be generous just as they were on Christmas Eve but it was tough to determine a way to do this without making them question the Easter Bunny’s existence. After all, why would the Easter Bunny bring them so many treats while other kids had none?
After we finished dinner on the night before Easter Sunday, Miss M and Mr. C started to get very excited about the Easter Bunny’s arrival. Miss M asked if they could leave out some cabbage and a carrot for a snack for her. I love that the Easter Bunny is always a her when our little lady talks about ‘her.’ They asked me if the Easter Bunny liked raw carrots with the peel on or peeled and washed carrots. I wasn’t sure so I said that they could probably leave out one of each and see what happened. “Like an experiment!” exclaimed Mr. C. Exactly! I said.
While Mr. C was pretty sure that bunnies liked carrots to be dirty and fresh from the ground, Miss M was a little concerned that her peeled and washed carrot wouldn’t satisfy the Easter Bunny. After all, it was getting quite cold and damp outside. She asked if I could help her chop her carrot because she had an idea. I did. She took the chopped pieces of carrot and added them to a bowl. She added water, some milk, garlic, salt and pepper. Then she used our potato masher to try to puree her carrot soup. It didn’t work. She quickly realized that the carrots needed to be cooked in order to “mush up.” She asked her daddy to microwave her concoction for exactly 9 minutes. She was quite pleased with her recipe.
While Miss M’s carrot soup cooked in the microwave, Mr. C grabbed a bottle of spring water for the Easter Bunny and said that he was going to pour it into a bowl with ice for him. Mr. C set up his dirty, unpeeled carrot and spring water on the table and then started to ponder the idea of giving the Easter Bunny some chocolate eggs.
I was just about to correct him by telling him that the Easter Bunny leaves chocolate eggs for him before I realized how awesome this was… Mr. C was genuinely concerned that the Easter Bunny would have hurt feelings if he left chocolate eggs for all of the kids but didn’t get any for himself. Amazing. Miss M was just as enthusiastic as Mr. C about this idea and together, they collected a huge assortment of chocolate eggs, Kinder Egg chocolates, egg hunt treats, colouring books and more. They decided that they were leaving it out for the Easter Bunny so he could feel happy too. Melt my heart or what!
I thought for a moment about what we could do with these treats to ensure that the Easter Bunny really did receive them. Then I realized that I could offer them as a giveaway on a Facebook mom group that I belong to that was designed for free giveaways to local families. I separated the Egg Hunt treats from the giant kinder eggs so that we could reach more families. I specified in the offer that these offers were for families whose Easter Bunny could use a little extra help this year. I asked that only those who were truly in need of assistance, express interest. It’s actually incredible how honest people can be when they see that you are trying to truly reach people who genuinely need the assistance. At the end of the day, no one wants to see a child go without.
While Miss M added a whole lot of cayenne pepper to her carrot soup, I watched the comments roll in on Facebook, from interested moms who did not have treats to leave for their children on Easter morning. I wished I could afford to run to the store and buy more Easter treats for each and every one of them.
Mr. C decided to write a letter to the Easter Bunny to let him know that he was giving him these treats so that he wouldn’t feel left out, with hurt feelings, so he could be happy too.
(see video below)
I absolutely LOVE that Mr. C wants to give the Easter Bunny all of these treats but is concerned that he will take our bowl. Ha!
So, before bed, Miss M set up a little stool in front of our coffee table that acted as a table for the Easter Bunny to enjoy a hot bowl of her spicy carrot soup. When I asked why she didn’t just set up the soup on the coffee table, she matter-of-factually told me that the Easter Bunny is only 1 foot tall and would not be able to reach the coffee table.
Silly me. After all, one bunny mysteriously entering the homes of children everywhere, hiding chocolate eggs while they slept without anyone noticing makes perfect sense. A tiny, one-foot tall rabbit reaching the coffee table to eat spicy carrot soup? How ridiculous! Clearly, he would need as smaller table setup. Duh!
After our little ones were settled into their beds, Hubby and I played Easter Bunny and hid chocolate eggs throughout the house. When I opened Facebook, I was surprised to see that 30 moms had expressed interest in our Giant Kinder-Egg giveaway and 24 moms had expressed interest in our egg-hunt treats. Again, I so wish we could have given treats to all of them. I can’t imagine the heartache of not having enough to give your children an egg hunt, or worse, having to explain to your children that the Easter Bunny didn’t come this year.
Parenthood is hard. The more we can stand together and help each other out whenever we can, the easier it is for all of us.
I raffled off a name for each offer and each mom was so grateful and came that night to collect the goods so they could set them up in their homes. I am so grateful to have been able to help a couple of other families have a magical Easter morning.
I feel so blessed that my children are compassionate enough to want to give some of their treats to the Easter Bunny… and they did give those treats to the “Easter Bunny.” And, the “Easter Bunny” left those treats out in the homes of other children. My heart swells with pride and I can’t help but smile thinking of the joy that their generosity brought other families this morning.
From our family to yours, Happy Easter!