I was shocked when my little son came to me reporting a commercial he liked on TV. It came on between cartoons so I expected it to be about a new toy he wanted. This happens a lot. But it was a different animal–an ad about a metal detector. Why on earth was he interested in this device? He didn’t know that gold is a valuable commodity and that daddy would love to have a few coins. He had no idea why anyone would want to find it lying on the ground or at the beach. He knew mommy had gold jewelry so he was guessing this was why. He liked the idea of making her a necklace for her birthday and thought this would help him with the DIY project. He loves to make things out of clay, construction paper, and crayons as a rule. He had no inkling about jewelry making any more than precious metals. My mouth hung open as I asked more questions. He already had a design in mind and he draw an awkward rendering for me to inspect and approve.
His reply was short and sweet. “I want to know how a metal detector works.” Okay, I would oblige. I would show him a video on Facebook. That was not enough for his curious young mind but I was not about to go out and buy one for a personal demonstration. I told a neighbor about this strange request. He told his cousin who happened to own this device. I could borrow it and take my son on an outing to find “gold.” He wouldn’t recognize it if he saw it, so any coin in the ground would do. It might be fun—and instructive. Kids like learning new things, but usually they have to do with the human body, how to make a papier maché mountain, or the best way to make cookies (particularly his favorite kind).
We went to the park as I assumed that some kind of cast-off metal would be there or perhaps a few fallen coins from a jogger’s pocket. We set the detector as I had been shown so it would pick up most anything. We didn’t adjust it to a fine setting as this would limit our catch. I was bound and determined to show how this odd object worked. We shouldn’t be disappointed given the public nature of the location.
We spent a lovely afternoon exploring together and had a nice picnic lunch. We hadn’t found anything yet as we had just begun. Now it was time to get serious. I let my son turn the metal detector on and taught him how to hold it out in front of him as he walked. In no time at all, a sound beeped and he stopped cold. He was transfixed as I bent over and dug into the barren lawn. Out came a quarter in pretty good condition. “It’s gold,” he cried, totally thrilled and excited.