My hero in the sign world is the green go light. He’s constantly saying things like, “This is your time,” “You can do it,” and “Let’s do this!” He’s the kind of guy you want to hang out with, what with him being all positive and encouraging and whatnot.
He’s a rarity. Most of the other signs are harbingers of Adultitis: Stop. Wrong way. Dead end. Do not enter. Road closed. No smoking. No parking. No trespassing. No skateboarding. No shirt, no shoes, no service.
They’re a grumpy bunch, throwing down restrictions like Miss Hannigan from Annie. Theirs is a world of never, can’t, and don’t even think about it. They’re like the people at a party who are giving you all kinds of statistics about how unsanitary the bowl of Chex mix is.
Now I understand that these signs do us a service in preventing anarchy, but then again, IRS agents serve a purpose too, but people aren’t quick to invite them to dinner.
One thing that might be worth thinking about while we’re on the subject of signs is this: What kind of vibe are you putting out to your kids, students, patients, customers or co-workers?
Do people get the message that they can try new things, explore new ground, or ask a question without being shot down?
Are you positive, encouraging and open to possibility?
Or are you inflexible, quick to remind people of the rules, and point out why things can’t be done?
Now nobody thinks of themselves as a walking Falling Rocks sign, but it’s always worth taking a good hard look in the mirror from time to time. Usually our actions are pretty subtle, but they communicate our attitude loud and clear to the people around us.
In a way, we are all signs. The only question is what kind.
[ About the Art: This is another example of a finished piece that started out as a silly sketch. I wanted to make it more painterly than a standard cartoon, and I’m happy with the result. I chose the purple background to give the feeling of a foreboding storm cloud. No blue skies here! (Made with Photoshop.) (Buy the print!) ]
I like stop because I’m learning how to stop doing laundry, dishes, cleaning after working all day/week and take time to do something I like to do-read, get together with a friend, lie on thr couch, go to the pool to swim. I really would “work” all hours and be far too uptight and unhappy without a Stop sign.
Score one for the stop sign as an Adultitis fighter! :)
Cat B says
I think the one I, and probably most women, see is the one that says “You Stink”. I love Libby’s idea about the stop sign though!
I’m drawn to the stop sign! I use stop signs in my work counseling people with anxiety and thinking errors that tend to circle back to negative, self-defeating thoughts. The stop sign is a great visual reminder to notice and pay attention to the thought and to the feeling attached, and work toward shifting or replacing it. :)
Way to put a positive spin on the stop sign, Mimi!
Sharon A Mras says
I guess I do not like any of the signs. I am the person who sees “There’s got to be more out there”. So I keep looking for more. The roads I have traveled have been long and winding, always another challenge or someplace else to go. Got to keep going, there has to be more. So I keep looking, further education and training, attending board meetings and conference, mentoring and educating others, team work, professionalism, self worth, pleasure and fun.
Good for you, Sharon!
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Marilyn S. says
The choice to have a positive attitude is what it’s all about. There’s a great line in the play, “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard: “Happiness is equilibrium. Shift your weight.”
“IRS agents serve a purpose too, but people aren’t quick to invite them to dinner”
Why not? I suppose it could be quite taxing…..
I’m definately becoming more aware of what i’m saying to my daughter. Love the site and the artwork.
When it comes to my 2 year old son, I’m all green light.
When it comes to my husband, I’m more of the stop sign. Mostly because when he wants to do something new it usually involves a ton of money and putting us in debt again. My son just wants crayons and paper or something yummy like chocolate, whereas my husband wants a new expensive car, or electronic toy. I’d really like to be a green light for my husband too, but it just isn’t feasible because he doesn’t consider the ramifications (he’d spend all our grocery money on toys if I left him). I’ve tried letting him just go get what he wants and he’s happy for a short time, but then he gets nervous and anxious when we don’t have money for basic needs, so I’ve learned he needs me to be his stop sign as much as I don’t like to, I need to.
As for telling myself, well I’m usually more of the constant red light too, fixated on the what-ifs instead of the positives, but I’m definitely working on changing that mindset!
Sounds like serving as a red light is a very useful thing for your family, Alison! We’re all for green lights on fun; for plunging into debt…not so much :)
Of the four signs offered, I am drawn to the “you stink” sign, because it reminds me of how I used to feel about myself, and how I’ve come to learn that I really don’t stink. I will use this idea to remind myself how I should not allow anyone to see a “you stink” sign on my face/attitude.