In The Trenches

Rock Paper Scissors, Anyone?

Published on July 5, 2023 Back to blog

Last week, while sitting behind a school bus in heavy traffic on the way to the office, I noticed a bunch of kids in the back of the bus trying to catch my attention. At first, I thought they were trying to get me to honk my horn as they each banged a fist into the palm of their other hand. But, when I honked, they all shook their heads and continued with their signal. Next, I tried flashing my high beams, and I got the same response. Then it hit me. They wanted to play rock paper scissors.  

So, I graciously played along. Over the next 20 minutes or so, I’d point to one kid at a time and challenge them to a game. When any of them won, they’d all high-five one another. And, when I won, I did a little “happy dance” in my seat to show my excitement. I can’t recall of a more fun and entertaining ride to the office. 

It would be an understatement to say that this event made my day. Even one week later, I smile just thinking about it. So, I figured I’d share the story today, along with the lessons learned from it.

  1. It feels good to be present. So often, we’re on our phones or computers (or just thinking about something else) when we are with other people. In this moment, aside from keeping an eye on the slow 5 MPH traffic, I was fully engaged with these kids. Even though we were not speaking, it was gratifying to watch them engage with one another, play the game and react to each outcome. 
  2. Giving joy creates joy. Just watching them celebrate each win brought joy to my heart. And, then watching them laugh at my silly dances made it even better.
  3. Joy can be shared. The joy didn’t stop when we parted ways. Every time I share this story (including right now as I write this), I experience the joy again, and get to see others experience it too. 
  4. We can all use a good distraction. If not for these kids, I would likely have been very frustrated in the heavy traffic. Sure, listening to Paris and Jeremy on the GBH Morning Edition show (my typical routine) would have been informative and entertaining, but I still would have been annoyed with the traffic.
  5. When in doubt, go with paper. I did some research and, although paper may be perceived as the weakest of the three options, it wins the most – mostly because rock is perceived as the strongest of the three options and is thrown most often. If you don’t believe me, here’s a meme to prove it. 🙂

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners