We were out on the street the other day—no, literally, that’s our playground here, the road—when August looked down at the groove in the concrete and back up excitedly and said, “I’m going to dig for treasure!” With a hop and a bound, he ran back into the garage to get a stick. Once found, he brought the stick out and began laboriously driving it into the groove between two slabs where years of dirt had accumulated. The stick wedged into the ground, then he pulled it back out, flinging dirt into the air with it.
“Are you digging for treasure?” I asked him.
“Yes!” he replied proudly and excitedly.
“What kind of treasure are you digging for?” I asked.
“Dirt!” he answered, oh-so-satisfied with himself.
It struck me then, it wasn’t the treasure that he was excited about, it was the act of digging for it. As we get older, I think we lose that. We become goal-oriented. The process is a means to an end. We work to get paid to buy the thing we want or afford the vacation we want. We go to school to graduate and move on to the next thing. We drive to get to work and do our job so we can go home. We do the yard work to get it done. We have a party to take cool photos to post online. We dig to find treasure. I want to recapture some of that enthusiasm about the mundane, hard-work, “meaningless” activities that children find endless amusement with. I want the act of digging, the thrill of possibility and play to be the entire reason I do some things.