“Dad,” my son said. “If you had to choose between a clue or One Million Dollars, which would you choose?”

“I’d have to go with the million.”

“No! That’s the wrong answer! You were supposed to choose the clue!”


My son pulled out the book he was reading: “The Maze of Bones” by Rick Riordan. You  might know Mr. Riordan as the author of the Percy Jackson series. Much like the Percy Jackson series, The Maze of Bones is the first in a series of books where a kid or group of kids are thrown into a mysterious plot calling them to adventure. Standard Joseph Campbell stuff, but in a format that’s easily digestible by kids.

My son eats these up.

He told me all about the story, about the kids who are searching for 39 clues to get what he said was “a very important treasure.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just take the money and create your own adventure?” I asked.

“No, Dad. In THIS adventure, you might die!”

I sat back for a moment and tried to remember what it was like to be that age. This is Shaw Kid #4 (aka SK4). He’s only eight years old and, to him, the call to adventure in life is worth more than a Million Dollars. He doesn’t quite grasp the concept of that much money. To him, a million dollars might as well be a bajillion: an incomprehensible amount.

To my son, the call to adventure was worth more than all the money in the world. The fact that the risks might even include death only made it more exciting and, therefore, more worthwhile.

Shouldn’t it be that way for us? Sure, we have to pay the bills and take care of responsibilities. The adult world has to take these things into account. But it struck me how easily I’ve looked past good opportunities that came with some risk in favor of the easy solution, the path well-traveled.

We all have a call to adventure in our lives. We’re probably not being called to fight Greek Gods or search for Clues to unearth magical powers like in my son’s favorite novels, but we do have things we wish we could do … only if. Only if we had the time or less responsibility or if it were somehow less risky and easy to chase these adventurous options.

To chase all of them would be irresponsible. But to chase none of them is another form of death. It just takes longer.

The next time I see a call to adventure, I’m going to consider it. A million dollars would be nice, but the possibility of Real, True passion and meaning in whatever it is I’m doing is worth well more than that.

What do you think? What adventures are you considering?