Someone has purchased the five-year-old a metal detector.
“Let’s find some treasure,” she says, marching out of the door.
We scan every inch of the local park, to no avail.
“Stupid park,” she says, as we head home.
Later, she suggests we try the garden. We begin scanning.
Suddenly, the device beeps and we gasp and ready our spades.
Our activity represents a wider truth: we scan our worlds, looking for something to validate us, whether it be a person, or a job, or a calling. And, when we think we’ve located this source of validation, we dig and sweat and toil, desperately trying to seize and protect our treasure.
Sensing something special beneath the soil, I begin digging fervently, until:
“Stop digging!” screams the five-year-old.
My hands release the spade and my aching arms are thankful as I stand back, panting, trembling with adrenaline.
The five-year-old cautiously dips her fingers into the hole and, with her thumb and forefinger, produces a mucky square, raising it victoriously to the sun.
“What is it?” I ask, enthralled.
“Your wallet,” she answers, “finders keepers.”
The Male Nanny