Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What's the point?

Why are you telling me what the speed limit is not? This type of sign and type of message serves no purpose. I don't ever need to know what the speed limit is not - I only ever need to know what it is. Yet, this type of message is so common.

Throughout the 80's and 90's we dined in the "No Fat" world the government espoused. And what happened? We got fatter and fatter because as long as something was fat free, it was assumed to be healthy. With that definition, jelly beans and fat free "snackwells" cookies were considered in the same family as chicken breasts and broccoli - what a load of garbage.

Fast forward to the "Low Carb" years of this last decade. We did the same thing - if it was low in carbs, then it was considered healthy. Now bacon and butter lead the health food parade.

The product of telling people what not to do only leads to failure. We might all borrow a good tidbit from the dog training world, where dogs are shown what to do and then rewarded for doing it. This works quite well with children as well. Don't get me wrong - I think that people need to be told "No" or "Stop" in the moment when they are doing something wrong, but whenever possible, this should be followed with encouragement and in instruction for how to do the right thing. I'm always reminded about this every time I see the End Speed Limit sign and start frantically searching for what the actual speed limit is - well, I know it's not 35 mph (but what is it? - 55 mph, 25 mph....?). Would a sign that told what me what the current speed limit is do so much more good - I sure think so.

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