The Bonham Bus rolled for some of the most memorable times in my life. My parents bought it and it became the main vehicle to get around with four growing kids to church, sports and life’s activities. I remember when my parents got their first “adult” car, it just seemed weird not to pile into the bus. We kept it…actually, I kept it. I drove it to college for my freshman year. At one of the High Places youth small groups, we creatively got twenty-two people inside to make a video. That bus has too many great stories. Like my parents, I eventually got an “adult” car when I was getting ready to marry Kristin.
I have been thinking about the Bonham Bus recently because of all the stories around it. One stands out because it was a life lesson that I have never forgotten. All the kids in my family decided we were going to do a lawn business. Since my sister was the only one old enough to drive, Tracy was the “wheel man.” (“wheel person”) She would work alongside Jon, Matt and I taking care of people’s lawns. We were blessed that we had friends in a retirement community. We had twelve – fifteen lawns that we would take care of each week. We took the middle seat out of the bus and loaded it with our lawn mower, rakes, bags, and hand trimmer. (Let’s say our equipment didn’t look anything like you would even consider using today…I did use the phrase “hand trimmer.”) We piled in that bus every week and make our run.
Here’s the lesson. On the first day, we hit those houses and everyone worked so hard. But, we were all telling each other what to do, when to do it and how it should be done. I don’t remember too much yelling but by the time we got back in the bus to get home, none of us were happy. We all sat down with my dad and proceeded to finger point, complain and whine about the chaos of the day. My dad is pretty wise and he shared a Solomon moment. He said, “Ok, here is what you are going to do next week. Next week, Tracy is in charge. Everybody has to do what Tracy says.” My sister sat up a little taller and looked at us with a smile. But then my dad said, “The next week, Jon is in charge. Everybody has to do what Jon says.” Jon sat up a little taller and gave a smile back to Tracy. (Matt and I were not smiling and not sitting taller by the way.) My dad finished with this, “We will rotate the person in charge each week. As the leader, you will assign the tasks that each person does during your week. If you aren’t happy with someone, be careful. Remember, they are going to be the leader in the next few weeks.”
I have always remembered those lessons…”when you lead, respect others and they will respect you.” “Lead the way you want others to lead you.” “Giving other people the opportunity to lead can be healthy and make you a better group.” It was a great catalyst for leadership for all of us. It seems like a long time ago but the lessons are still true today.
The simple days of four kids and a bus are gone. I miss the simplicity of piling into a puke green, lawn mower sounding engine vehicle with my siblings – those were good times. Those are memories you build a life on each day.