Control the Traffic Light

By Patrick McNerthney

Have you noticed you’ve  changed quite a bit when it comes to  your driving? 

No, you’re not any more (or less) dangerous. Your skills haven’t eroded (or improved), you definitely have NOT developed tons of patience and consideration when it comes to zipper merges, student drivers, or wayward pedestrians glued to their phones as they cross the street mid-block.

But: you, yes YOU, have done a complete 180 when it comes to traffic lights!

(What would you do if all three colors activated simultaneously?)

Oh come now. Think about it. Before our age of instant-everything, you absolutely dreaded traffic lights. Don’t turn red don’t turn red don’t turn red echoed inside your brain as you rushed to take the kids to school, get to work on time, make the opening credits of Star Wars Episode 29, catch that flight, etc. etc. etc. Because the world would absolutely END if your schedule was DISRUPTED.

Indeed. C’mon now, you know it’s true. 

But now things are different. Now, you find yourself hoping that the traffic light will turn red so you can take your eyes off the road and answer that text/ listen to that voicemail/read that post/check your calendar/add milk to your grocery list, etc. etc. etc. Because the world will absolutely END if you don’t KEEP UP WITH EVERYTHING. 

Sigh. But you’re not alone.

The truth is, we Members of Society get caught up in the constraints created by systems such as traffic control, because that’s what systems are built to do: create guardrails to herd and attempt to determine our behavior. Without these systems, there would be complete disorder, a.k.a. chaos.

(Yeah, I guess that’s chaos alrighty!)

But consider this the next time you’re in the car (ironically) hoping to get a lucky break and catch a red light so you can check your phone: If you want to stop, just stop. You don’t need permission to pause. You don’t need the system to tell you it’s okay to adjust your pace. If you need to pull over, make that choice and do it. 

Because guess what? You have agency over your own life. 

The same goes for your work as the caregiver of your residents and loved ones. Undoubtedly you show up and work within a system designed to manage both your behavior and the actions of those you serve.  And this system is most likely loaded with good intentions. But here’s a great axiom worth that applies here: never question intent, but always question strategy. Meaning, is the system yielding the outcome you and your residents or loved ones want?

If you’re not sure, or if the answer is a resounding, “no,” Fine Art Miracles (FAM) can help. 

FAM champions creative expression as the best tool for helping those in your care suffering from anxiety and depression find their way back to confidence, self-worth, joy, hope, and the belief they matter to both their community, and the world. This is done through programs like Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, Music Therapy, and Art2Go packaged art lessons (October’s ART2GO is all about Claude Monet’s Bridges!), all of which activate parts of the brain that govern self-expression, fine motor skills, memory, as well as awareness of the here, and now

In other words, FAM’s programs inspire both action and agency in many forms, and actions—when combined with a belief in self-determination—define attitude (not the other way around).  And the right attitude is the key to ever-lasting happiness.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t say “a stoplight!” Reach out to FAM today and they’ll explain everything (and get you started right quick, no problemo). 

As for me, well, I’m as guilty as anyone about the whole traffic light thing. Pretty crazy when you think about it, right? I can’t wait to get frustrated taking my kid to school again. Especially now that I know it means I’m taking control of my life!




Skip to content