As soon as you read the headline, did you start to sing? Are you humming along right now? Are you singing the first verse…. “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round….” Or are you on another verse already, like “The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep,” or “The doors on the bus go open and shut….”?
Do you feel nostalgic? Memories of childhood? Moments of time spent on a big yellow bus, on a class trip with friends, or on your way to summer camp? During our childhood, most of us spent some time on a bus. Maybe it wasn’t one of those bright big yellow ones. Maybe it was small, or it was a big coach, with big comfy seats. But, I hope that I have you thinking about time on a bus when you were a child.
When children are on a bus, headed to school, a special outing, camp, or anywhere else, they are often rowdy. They sing. Some dance. Others joke around. The moment a group of children climb onto a bus, it’s like a party has begun.
I experienced that this week… with a group of adults. What is it about a bus that transforms mature, professional adults into silly, boisterous children?
I will give you the context. I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time last week at a leadership summit with people I work with. We spend hours, days, weeks, months of our lives working side by side. We put out “fires” together, work on projects and solve problems.
But, it’s when we leave the office and spend a few days together that we really get to know each other. The brainstorming sessions are important, as are presentations and workshops. And I’m glad, and very appreciative, that in my role as the Communications Director, I’m invited to participate in these sessions.
However, that’s not what I want to write about. You may be wondering, how is she going to connect a favourite childhood song, The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, with a work offsite? It’s all about the bus.
I will ask the question again: Why do we, grown, mature, stuffy adults, quickly become children the moment we step onto a bus? Or a better question is, why not?
Our evening began with the group shaking hands, giving some hugs, as colleagues quickly became friends. We walked down the steps of our hotel, and in front of us was a big white coach bus. The party bus. Or at least it became a party bus when the first person climbed the steps.
One of the organizers tried to count as each person stepped on, and he failed, as no one behaved. It was pouring rain outside, the traffic was terrible, and while we had a short distance to drive from the hotel to the evening activity, it took a long time. No one cared. They were too busy talking, singing and screeching to notice. Even my colleagues in HR. We cracked jokes about our bus driver. Some people teased their friends. Everywhere I looked, people were smiling. And the laughter. Oh, the laughter!
Do you know that feeling when you smile and laugh so much that your face starts to hurt? I can’t even remember half the silliness that went on during this crazy bus ride. Jokes that would never be funny during a meeting at the office were hilarious. Jabs at our boss were received with unctuous cackling. We laughed so hard we cried.
When the evening was over, and we hopped back on the bus to return to the hotel, the silliness returned. The fact that our poor driver had no sense of direction only encouraged the group to be even more immature. Our evening activity could have been a ride on a bus, and I think the group would have been perfectly happy.
And yes, we even sang our favourite song, The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round. We continued to sing the following evening, when we once again journeyed across the city on the bus. Everyone dressed up in our fancy adult clothes for a night on the town. But the child in us all came out the moment the wheels on our big white bus began to go round and round. The jokes, the jabs, singing, teasing and a ton of laughter, it all began again.
It was so much fun. Of course our three-day offsite was great, but really, the bus was the best part. It’s like giving a child a big thoughtful gift, like a dollhouse or toy kitchen, and all they want is to play in the box the toy came in. Or you plan a special day in the city, and what your child remembers most is the subway ride downtown.
I hope that the wheels on the bus keep going round and round. That the doors on the bus go open and shut. That the wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish. But most important, I hope that the people on the bus laugh, laugh, laugh, and have fun, fun, fun.
I’m smiling just thinking about it.