Leading up to Easter, my daughter kept pulling out the various bunny-themed books from the pint-sized bookshelf in her room for us to read before bedtime. One book we’ve read far too often lately (my opinion, not hers) is Pete the Cat: The Big Easter Adventure.
This particular title is not at all my favourite children’s book, but really, I’ve got two preschool-aged bibliophiles who will voraciously consume any and all books on offer, so I can’t complain about their choices too much.
In the story, Pete the Cat is asked to help the Easter Bunny collect, decorate, and hide the eggs because, for some unknown reason, the Bunny can’t.
The overarching message: Be kind to each other at Easter:
“Helping others is what Easter is all about,” is one of the book’s big lines.
The other night I finished reading the story to my daughter and she turned to me and said, “That’s not right, Mom. Easter isn’t about kindness, it’s about hiding and finding the eggs.”
A great many of you are shifting uneasily in your seats as you read this, your brows furrowed and whatnot. Listen, I know Easter is a pretty big deal in a lot of households. I feel the guilt. I grew up Catholic and it feels like I kind of dropped the ball when it comes to teaching her about the meaning behind the holy holiday.
“Well no,” I said cautiously, unsure of how to explain life, death, et al. to a barely three-year-old. “It’s not really about hiding and finding eggs.”
Luckily for me, in keeping with the behaviour of the little puppy she claims to be, something shiny on the spine of one of the other books on her shelf distracted her and the subject was abandoned.
Later it occurred to me that I could use Easter to teach her something, not so much about Holy Week, the crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a la Christianity, but instead about how to be a good neighbour and how to selflessly express love…all through the medium of her choosing: Pete the Cat.
It would be a parenting win if my threenager could get on board with kindness as an Easter theme.
On Easter weekend we were in line for coffee on the way to a community egg hunt when a man approached us and said, “Once you get your coffee fix, you need to go and get your tire fixed.”
Turns out it was flat.
“Kindness at Easter!” my husband reminded the kids. “That guy didn’t have to do that but he did and we’re thankful.”
We were on a tight schedule to get to the egg hunt (because children and socks are like oil and water when you’re trying to leave the house) but safety comes first.
We grabbed our drinks and carefully drove to the adjacent service centre to ask for help. These days air isn’t always free like it used to be. I wouldn’t have been shocked if we’d gotten charged, but the guys at the shop gladly hauled out their air hose and filled the tire without a second thought.
“More kindness,” my husband pointed out to the kids. “They didn’t have to help us.”
We got to the egg hunt with time to spare thanks to the thoughtfulness of strangers.
We reminded the kids about how kindness was cool and we needed to be thankful those men were so kind.
“Yeah,” said my daughter. “I’m so thankful we could get here on time to start searching for eggs.”
Clearly we still have quite a bit to learn, I thought to myself.
I watched my daughter hunt for eggs. At first, she only picked up the blue and green ones — her favourite colours. Then, she suddenly started collecting purple ones, too.
Afterward, I watched her dump a significant portion of her haul into her big brother’s basket — effectively doubling his collection and halving hers.
His favourite colour is purple.
Whether it came from Pete the Cat or Mom and Dad, I’m happy to say I think she’s starting to figure it out.