A lot of folks in my small town can relate to this sign. Never mind that the print is too small to read from the street. You have to pretty much get your face right up to it to get the full impact of the words. Of course the tip-off is the searing red color, which brings to mind things like a blaring fire engine, a tornado warning on the weather map, the burning flames of,…well, you get the idea.
It’s not a friendly sign. But not uncivil, no, nor disrespectful. Just matter-of-fact and to the point. No beating around the brush (pardon the pun.) It is from the local town government stating that your grass (to use the term lightly) is higher than the allowed limit for in-town residents. The take home message is simply this: Cut it, or else.
Or else what?
Ah, therein lies the treasure! Seems like the only motivator for some of us is the “or else” factor, a.k.a., consequences. If…then. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is, many times, an uncomfortable one, which is in itself a good motivator. I need to feel the pain if I lean up against a hot stove, or if I get irritable at my friend because I’m having a bad day. I need to see the numbers on the scale go up if I eat donuts and ice cream every day, or the numbers in the grade book go down if I don’t study for my coursework. Consequences teach us very important things, as well as keep us safe.
Removing reasonable (i.e. safe) consequences does the opposite. Learning from our mistakes is harder, partly
because we don’t feel any different after making the mistake. Or we don’t even know we made one, since somebody derails or blunts the consequence before it gets to us. In a morally maturing sense, that’s “pass interference”, except that the one who pays the penalty is the person who was deprived of learning a needed lesson.
This sets everyone else up for a Domino Effect down the road. Someone who is not well acquainted with the consequences of their own decisions and behavior will eventually have the rest of us reaping the benefit of their vested ignorance.
….it’s almost like they expect the city to make their signs a friendly pink and yellow.