My disobedient nine-year-old son was punished and ended up making an incredible discovery that changes his life forever.
This year my son Steven graduated from high school as valedictorian, but eight years ago, my husband and I were desperate. Steven was nine and the most rebellious child I'd ever seen or heard of.
He'd do the opposite of anything we asked of him on principle: he was untidy, rude, careless in his studies, and nasty to other children. My husband and I lost count of the number of times we were called into school because of Steven. And then one weekend, a miracle happened.
Tommy was fascinated by the mysterious golden book | Source: Unsplash
We'd had a horrible week and by Friday, I was at the end of my tether. I walked into Steven's room and lost my cool. "Steven!" I screamed.
I heard him from the garden. "What do you want?"
"You get in here right now and clean up this room!" I cried.
Steven walked in dragging his feet and pouting. "I don't wanna!" he said crossly.
My nine-year-old was rebellious and difficult | Source: Unsplash
"I don't care what you want! You clean this up or else!" I said.
"Or else WHAT?" he asked scornfully.
"Or else you'll be sleeping in grandmother's room until your room is tidy!"
My mother-in-law had passed away over a year ago, but her bedroom was still as she had left it. I knew my son and his friends scared themselves by telling ghost stories, sneaking her bedroom door open, and running screaming downstairs.
Steven looked horrified. "You can't do that!"
Steven refused to tidy up his room | Source: Pixabay
"Oh yes, I can!" I told him. "You just try me!"
Steven decided to try me. I took a peek at his bedroom after dinner and saw that it was still in the same disgraceful state, so I carefully locked it and went to bed. My husband and I were about to doze off when Steven knocked on our door.
Opening a book is like opening a window that can take us on a marvelous journey of discovery.
"I can't open my bedroom door!" Steven complained.
"Yes," I said calmly, "I know. I've made up grandmother's bed fresh, and your pajamas are under the pillow."
I made him sleep in his grandmother's room | Source: Unsplash
"I can't sleep there!" he screamed.
"What's the matter son," my husband asked. "Are you scared?" Steven would never admit to being scared so he went into his grandmother's bedroom, put on his pajamas, and climbed into bed.
Later he told me that whenever he closed his eyes he'd hear weird noises so he decided he preferred to stay awake. He started rummaging through my mother-in-law's drawers and cabinets, and then he spotted a stack of books on top of her wardrobe.
The book right on top was fat and huge, with a gleaming gold-embossed binding. Steven decided he had to see what was in the book, so he climbed on top of a chair to try to reach it.
He saw a book on top of the wardrobe | Source: Unsplash
Reach it he did, but as he pulled the book down, he realized it was too heavy, it fell from his hands onto the bedroom floor. A thick cloud of dust escaped from between the pages, and an envelope fell out.
Steven opened the envelope and saw that it contained six coins in acrylic boxes. Coins? "I wonder what the book is about?" Steven asked himself and started leafing through it.
Now Steven had never enjoyed reading, but here he found something that fascinated him. The book was all about coins -- the history of coins -- and to his surprise, he saw that there was a picture of one of the coins in the first chapter.
"Phillip of Macedon..." Steven read, "and his son Alexander, the boy-general, were the first to use coins as instruments of propaganda..." What was propaganda? Steven wondered, and a boy-general! That sounded exciting!
Steven found a handful of ancient coins | Source: Pixabay
On Monday, Steven was in the library researching the story of the boy-general Alexander. Each of the six coins in the envelope led him on a fascinating journey of discovery and soon he was a voracious reader and an avid coin collector.
To my surprise, Steven's report cards started showing higher marks, and within a year, he was a straight-A student! My husband and I couldn't believe our eyes, so that night we called for a family meeting.
"Steven," I said, "I just got your report card, and we have to talk about it."
"We do?" asked Steven squirming, but the truth is that he was not a much nicer boy than he had been just a few months before.
Steven started hanging out in the library | Source: Unsplash
"Yes! said my husband, putting the report card on the kitchen table in front of Steven. "How do you explain this?"
Steven picked up the report card and read it. His face turned bright red and his mouth hung open. "All As?" he gasped.
"Son," said my husband grinning, "we're so proud of you!"
"How did you do that?" I admit I sounded suspicious.
Steven was amazed with his great grades | Source: Unsplash
"Well," Steven said, "It was granny's fault. Remember you made me sleep in her room? There was this book there and these coins, and I started reading and then I just couldn't stop!"
"Coins?" asked my husband astounded. "I never saw any coins!" So Steven fetched the book and the coins and the three of us chatted excitedly about this incredible discovery right under our own roof.
For Steven, it was the book that taught him the adventure that reading could be, and he and my husband started going to numismatic fairs and he started collecting. I'm grateful for that big book and the changes it brought into my son's life.
Thanks to that old book, Steven graduated from high school as valedictorian | Source: Unsplash
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