Quartz Rocks

Our 10 year old son is suddenly interested in precious metals.

It began with a can of spray paint and some blocks of wood.  He noticed some pieces of two-by-four that were about the same size as gold bricks.  “Where has your son seen gold bricks?” ask you?  Certainly not at our house.  Perhaps he’s into Duck Tales (as he should be).

He asked me if we could buy some gold spray paint, so as to “make some gold bricks.”  My first analysis and report was the obvious (you don’t know things) but a better parenting moment surprised even me as I said “sure.”

The next thing I know, he’s harvesting our quartz landscaping rocks and painting them gold.  They shimmer in the most believable way.

As of yesterday, he has sold one rock to a friend at school.  Another one is supposed to bring money today.  At a dollar per gold nugget, he’s doing pretty well for himself.  I recommended setting up an LLC or at least an S-Corp.  We talked briefly about how taxes are impacted by corporate profit and loss.  I reccomended straight-line depreciation.  We talked briefly about a balance sheet.  Then he left our shareholder meeting.  He’s such a maverick.

Not only am I impressed by his relative understanding of how capitalism works, I am also moved by the fact that I did the exact same thing when I was little — and I’m most certain I never told him about it.

I was his age when me and my friends cooked up this crazy plot to take precious earth material from our neighbors and sell them at — I dunno — the bank?  We wandered the streets of our neighborhood in Garden City, plucking large quartz landscaping rocks from our neighbor’s well-manicured and maintained lawns.  We did this without remorse.  I owe these people big time today. It’s sort of like how we used to take donations from the Salvation Army Thrift Store drop-off dock.  Our assumption was that no one wanted these things, and, therefore, we wanted them for our backyard fort.  Our assumption was wrong, as I have confessed to every official within the Salvation Army organization.  I have offered recompense, but they have kindly declined.  This is good, because the interest alone would make them rich beyond my wildest nightmares.

Speaking of finances and poor life decisions, I pose an ethical parenting question: do I charge him for the quartz rocks?  Could be a capital expense that may help his bottom line come April 15.

If my son sells your kid a genuine gold nugget, I’d like to formally offer a refund from the parent corporation, with no questions asked.  It’s less than fool’s gold.  It’s fool’s fool’s gold.  It’s imitation pyrite.  It’s like a bad cover band.  Then again, they do shimmer… like some bad cover bands.

If our son puts a gold nugget in the offering plate at church this Sunday, please accept it but don’t feel like he needs a receipt. Feel free to deposit it — with all the other rocks out there.  I bet they’ll blend nicely with the others, over there by the drain tiles.

Here’s a vivid and often unconsidered truth: God values rocks.  Maybe this is the Imago Dei showing up in our son.  I’ve been so over quartz rocks now for about 30 years.  I couldn’t care less.  Yet he’s moved to tears.

Which one of us is more aware of the glory of nature?

Then again, which one of us is making a buck on spraypainted rocks?