Take turns . . .

It is said that Minnesota has two seasons .. one version of that is “winter and road construction” … it is true, because road work really is everywhere while the snow is absent. Minnesota drivers get used to detours, merging into one lane, and sitting through monitored delays while others are allowed to pass.

Yesterday on a 60 mile trip to a city, I came across a short detour on the highway, a gutter cleaning truck blocking a city road and a one lane bridge under construction … and I was not surprised or put out by any of it … because .. it is summer time, I “expect” it.

tt321Having said that, crossing the bridge under construction, did cause me to take a long second glance at the warning signs which resulted in a huge smile on my face. Here is a sign (literally) that I live in the woods … Take Turns. It sounds so polite … it spells out the expectation that drivers should be considerate and nice to each other. Has anyone ever seen a similar sign any where else?

Do people out there in the busy world remember their kindergarten lessons and still know how to take turns? Would a sign like this work any where besides the woods? If there was only one lane open on a bridge in St. Paul, would people follow the instructions and take turns? Or, even a smaller town like Bemidji?

As a teacher, we are taught and we learn through experience, that for the majority of students … there is a natural inclination to work towards expectations set before them.

What would happen if we “expected” people to do the right thing? How many of our many signs and warnings are really unnecessary? Do we really need someone else to tell us what is right and how to share? Are those road construction sign holders really only there for the small percentage of people that purposely go against expectations and don’t care about anyone but themselves? Or do we all need them? And, are all those hot coffee warnings and obvious appliance cautions (toasters get hot, saws cut, see many more) really necessary? (a new hot dog warning label?)

Signs have a purpose and without some of them our streets would be chaos. However, I think warnings have gotten out of control. I believe a lot of our “signs” are dumbing down society … they signal that we “expect” the worse … they signal that we “expect” people to do stupid things …

What would happen if we began to “expect” people to “think” a little bit on their own? Or to “expect” people to be polite, do the right thing and be responsible for their own mistakes when they don’t think?

Would more signs like “Take Turns” bring out the best in people or cause chaos?
I would like to believe they would make the world a better place, but maybe I have just lived in the woods too long … ?

warninglabel2If you would like to add to the world’s warning signs, you can generate your own labels.

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~ by bearyweather on July 2, 2009.

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