It was a sunny April Saturday. Eight children aged two to eight bounced around, brimming with anticipation. They knew eggs were hidden around the yard and they couldn’t wait to find them.
Soon, they were off!
Twisting their tiny hands through the leaves of trees to find treasured chocolate eggs. Reaching up in the branches or on the wall to grab the marshmallow treats. And twenty minutes later, it was over. This little team of hunters is efficient and thorough. Their baskets are filled and they are ecstatic. There is more chocolate and candy here than they wished for, and it’s all theirs!
To help the hunt along and to guide the younger kids to some treasure are four parents – two men, two women. As the kids bring their baskets around to count who found the most eggs, the parents gather, too, equally expectant. Each child patiently waits their turn to tip over their basket and take account of their find. A little envy for the fuller baskets.
One younger child dives right in and rips apart a chocolate wrapper, setting in motion the trend that all the kids have been waiting for – eating the eggs!
As quickly as it all started, one parent jumps in to bring some order. Of course they would, they’re a parent. “Wait, wait. Let’s put all the eggs together and share.”
“No, no,” said another parent. “They eat what they kill.”
The socialist vs the capitalist.
Who would have thought an age-old conflict would present itself at a children’s activity?
The parents stopped, laughed and jokingly debated – are we here to teach lessons about achievement and rewards? Is the best method equal participation should get equal rewards? Should the younger children receive a smaller portion of the spoils because they are younger?
I was fascinated, albeit for a brief moment, by the differing philosophies and approaches and even wondered if it was the correct forum to even teach lessons. Isn’t this supposed to be about fun? Easter is philosophical enough without lessons of capitalism vs socialism.
What further interested me was the gender split in the friendly conflict. The female parent wanted the children to share. The male parent was clearly the capitalist and both presented valid points to support their agendas. I suppose it can be said that women tend to consider the collective much more than men do. Men definitely exhibit more caveman hunter-and-gatherer traits than do the women-folk.
In a group like this with children of different ages, women are more likely to ensure everyone is fairly treated, and I’ve seen men hold back a bit, displaying a ‘let them fend for themselves approach.’ If extrapolated to economic models, perhaps these could be grouped as socialist and capitalist traits.
In the meantime, the smartest people among us, snuck away with handfuls of candy and started chomping away. Yeah, that’s where the real fun is at. A marshmallow, please…