I am currently at a conference in the Colorado mountains (preparing to give a keynote address at PIDT), and near the lodge of the place we are staying one of my colleagues (Peter Rich) pointed out this sign:

shortcutting sign

Instead of saying what we should do or should not do (e.g. “Don’t walk on grass” or “Stay on sidewalk”) the sign simply tells people the consequences for a certain choice – and then those who posted the sign must simply trust and hope people will act in a way that evokes the best natural consequences.

What a great concept: “Teach people correct principles and then let them govern themselves.” (Joseph Smith)

With most areas of our lives: work (in my case teaching, instructional design, consulting), parenting, friendships, etc… it seems that we would do well to spend more time discussing natural consequences for actions rather than dictating to others what we want them to either do or not do.

On a funny note, driving up here we also saw a sign (that I want to get a picture of) which said:

“In case of flood, climb to higher ground.”

I’m trying to think of how this sign might have been changed to warn of danger and teach consequences without dictating choices… 🙂 Any ideas?