I noticed something new this past year on our family vacation. The lighthouse we have climbed for a decade on the New Jersey coast has a sign at the top of its 199 steps that simply says "No Shouting."
I'm not sure if it has always been there, and I just missed it, or if it is a new addition. Either way, I was immediately struck by the sign's simplicity and importance.
Clearly, people on top of a lighthouse, especially children, have a desire to scream to the people below, to show them they have survived the climb to the top.
I thought about how I could apply this sign to my life. How about no kids shouting in my home? How about no anxious co-workers shouting in my office? How about just less shouting in the world in general?
I mused that I could take a photo, make it into a necklace, an all-powerful talisman around my neck. I would then hold it up like Wonder Woman's bullet-repelling bracelets every time someone dared to shout in my personal space. I've settled for making it my desktop background and the background on my BlackBerry.
That day, at the top the lighthouse, I was suddenly jarred out of my sign revelry by a piercing sound. Someone was shouting at a person on the bench 157 feet below. To make matters worse, they were right next to the sign. And then, to my dismay, I realized that it was my very own children trying to get their grandmother's attention.
I shushed them to no avail, pointing to the sign. I realized some well-meaning person had put it there, but like so many signs we see in the world, it was destined to be ignored.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Mondays.