I visited a man one time who had a sick son. When I say sick, I mean really sick. As a matter of fact, he did not live long after the visit.
While I was there, a nurse needed to give the patient some attention. So, the dad led me back to another room in the house. It was like no room I’d ever seen. From one wall to the other, all I saw were arrowheads. The came in all sizes, shapes, and colors, and each one had a story. He was kind enough to tell me a few of them.
He told me about afternoon walks near the river. He told me about digging in fields. He talked about family trips to special sites. His eyes grew big as he was transported before my eyes to a different place and time.
I was struck by how much time and effort went into this collection. I wondered how many trips did all of this take? How many miles did he walk? How much dirt got under those fingernails?
I wondered but I never asked, because I understood that, for him, the treasure was worth the effort. He beamed as he carefully showed me each piece and shared each story. As he talked, I could tell the harder the pursuit, the deeper the joy.
I don’t think I will ever forget that lesson because I see something like it almost every day. No, I don’t see this man every day. In reality, I never saw him again, and I don’t know where he is now. What I do see is that same gleam, that same twinkle of joy. It always seems to come when a new, hard-fought discovery is made.
I see it in the eyes of student after student when their hard work is rewarded. When I say rewarded, I am not talking about a good grade—that is a joy as well. It goes deeper than that. I am talking about being rewarded with a truly new insight. When they understand, when they finally get it, there is a sweet rush of joy as it pours out through a twinkle in their eyes.
They work hard, but digging for treasure is worth it when your pursuit is rewarded and wisdom is gained. May we never tire of seeing that twinkle in the eyes of our students!
As that dad reminded me, digging is worth it when you find treasure!!!