Are You a Dumper?: A Lesson in How We Treat Others.

No Dumping: A Lesson on How We Treat Others

Seeing this sign in the neighborhood caused me to ponder when we first moved in. I know what it means literally. Obviously the owners of the empty lot don’t want anyone dumping their garbage there. But could the sign have a deeper meaning? I wondered.

The more I’ve thought about this sign, the more I’ve decided it shares a powerful message. But you have to dig for it. The sign itself is simple, handmade, and battered. Perhaps someone has thrown rocks at it for fun. After all, the dented surface makes a shiny target. Surrounded by weeds, the sign still stands above them, it’s message clear. Occasional litter dots the landscape, but overall, the sign’s presence seems to be working.

So what does this mean to me? At first, not a whole lot. But repeated walks by the sign with my preschooler have given me time to think. You see, we often pass this sign on our way to see horses and walk on a beautiful path. We’ve taken fun, rustic pictures there, and we love to feed carrots and apples to our four-legged friends. For us, we appreciate the things that are just beyond the sign. It truly would be a shame if someone dumped old furniture or what have you in this scenic, hidden spot we so enjoy.

Now, on a personal note, what might this sign mean? For me, I’m reminded not to “dump” my problems on friends and family. We all need help solving life’s challenges on occasion, but we don’t have to talk about them all the time. Day-to-day problems are just like the dents on the sign or the weeds surrounding it. We can still share our message and purpose with others–whatever that may be–and rise above the problems we are experiencing. And . . . likely there are good things waiting for us “just around the corner.” Life is like that. It’s not all down in the dumps. Good things do and will come.

The life lesson from this sign might mean that we take note and ask ourselves: Do I often overlook the positive and dump on my friends, my spouse, my children? How often do I do this? If I have a bad day, do I make sure others around me do too?

I hope I’m not that kind of person. Granted, sometimes I DO need to “dump” or “vent.” It’s therapeutically necessary. But do I do this all the time? I sure hope not. A good test is whether our family and friends like to be around us. If not, we can each make an effort to share positive thoughts. Read and watch good things. Share the good that you’ve learned.

I love that this sign is a continual reminder at the bottom of my street. Maybe you’d like to have it as a reminder too. So I’ve created a free 4×6 version that you’re welcome to use if you like. Click here for the shareable link. (The picture is of the actual sign, not including extra wording like the Pinterest image above.) I’m happy to have you use it for free but ask that you not sell the image or use it for profit.

No Dumping. It’s really a great reminder.

What else could this sign mean? What does it mean to you?


My husband and I have two wonderful sons. They’re 10 years apart, and we’re so grateful to have them. I love to share tips for strengthening home and family, as well as fun ideas for reading and writing. When we find something that’s especially helpful in facing the challenges of autism, I share that too.

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