I had this boss once. Granted, I’ve had a few bosses… but this boss instilled in me a great a wisdom. Besides encouraging me to read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People–which I still reference from time to time–this boss equated my job to the act of spinning plates. I had to keep all the plates spinning–the salespeople, the collateral, the leads, and the quarterly pipelines. I could have taken my act to Atlantic City.
Since then, I’ve shuffled positions in the same company. I’m no longer a corporate plate spinner–at least not like I used to be. I am–however–still spinning plates in my personal life. People who know me–and some who don’t know me–know that I never slow down. I’m constantly on the move. I’m going here and going there and drinking five cups of coffee in between. I’m working a job, going to school, picking antiques, metal detecting, spending time with friends, writing a column and a blog, making videos for YouTube, and keeping a finger to the pulse of social media.
At any given moment, I’m spinning five plates… but no matter how many plates I’m spinning–work, hobby, friends, blog, school–there’s only one plate that I’ll never drop. This plate happens to be my favorite plate. This plate is the mom plate.
If you’re familiar with the novelty act, you know that plate spinning hinges on the ability to multi-task. In respect to my personal life, this requires belting the lyrics to “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” while studying for exams and cooking hot dog octopuses. (Because every parent knows that after octopus hot dogs, you can never go back.)
On occasion, I’ll spin my hobby plate with my mom plate. Of course, they never spin together for very long… but they spin together long enough to have an adventure.
When I first started metal detecting, my daughter was one-and-a-half and my son was four. Finding time for this new hobby was almost impossible. I resorted to begging relatives to babysit… or if–by some miracle–both kids went down for a nap at the same time, I’d drop them with my parents and speed off to my nearest permission. Inevitably, they called an hour or sometimes even fifteen minutes later: “They’re awake.”
Stealing an hour here or there to detect just wasn’t cutting it. I needed to involve the kids in my hobby. I sought input from a few other parent detectorists and acquired a hiking backpack from kelty-kids. (I wrote a blog about it.)
When my daughter wasn’t riding on my back, she would teeter after me and pluck worms from my fresh plugs. My son would attempt to guess the target. (His guess was almost always “a nail”… and–admittedly–he was almost always right.)
These days, my son is five and my daughter is two-and-a-half. They are still a little young for swinging a detector, but I look forward to the day that my son can recover his first wheatie without getting burdened with the moral obligation to build dirt castles for all the displaced worms.
I’m not the only one grooming my kids to be the next generation of metal detecting hobbyists. I’ve seen so many pictures of kids helping grandpa or grandma, mom or dad metal detect. They make me smile. I love the enthusiasm these kids have towards metal detecting. Just this weekend, I had an opportunity to metal detect with a great group of kids and test out my new White’s TreasurePro. We had so much fun. Even finding a bullet casing was the best find in the world. I envied their excitement, because everything they found was treasure.
Lately I’ve become guilty of criticizing my finds. This experience with the kids reminded me that the hobby is about having fun, meeting new people, recovering history… and finding something awesome is just an added bonus.