Yesterday, I ended up in another muddle working on these letters to dead poets. In case you’re not familiar with the name Robert Frost, you will probably know his poem:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
However, over time, the last three lines have taken on a life of their own, which is quite different to the poem’s intended meaning. So. instead of being about making life’s choices and living without regrets, they’ve come to celebrate the trailblazing adventurer or hippy going against the flow.
Anyway, Frost has been beavering away overnight because I received his reply this morning:
You just can’t imagine what’s it’s been like to experience warm sunlight again after such a long, cold Winter and so many years underground. As much as I love conversing with nature and appreciate solitude, people need people. It was such an incredible awakening to receive your letter. Thank you very, very much!
I have given your question much consideration. Should your children take the freeway or follow the road less travelled? Although this wasn’t the intent of the original poem, nevertheless, it’s an important question. How do we as parents protect our kids and extend them at the same time?
You have already answered this dilemma for your own kids. You know you wouldn’t be where you are now, if you’d taken it easy. Hadn’t fought hard for every inch of progress through rugged, unchartered terrain. Your kids are Scouts, which extends them in all sorts of directions and teaches them how to approach life’s challenges through being prepared for anything. If you do everything for them, they’re just going to fall straight on their face.
Here are a few points I jotted down:
- Kids aren’t like Humpty Dumpty. As long as it’s not a catastrophic fall, they bounce back.
- We can not live without risk.
- Nothing grows in the dark.
- Don’t smother your kids. Everyone needs room to breathe and that’s why I always loved walking through the woods and being with nature.
Reading your letter further, you approached the road less travelled from another perspective, asking whether kids should conform or explore their individuality. Was it worth being bullied to express yourself?
Naturally, I am very concerned that difference is not encouraged. You’re right about human discovery being built on a curious and inquiring mind. You don’t get that sticking to the norm. You have to go off-road. It really concerns me that these thinkers, who could ultimately change our world and solve some of critical questions of the time, would be ridiculed, rejected and have no friends. That’s such a travesty and needs to change! These young seeds must be watered, cultivated and encouraged…NOT chopped down!
Anyway, not knowing how long I have above ground, I must carpe diem seize the day and go for another walk.
You truly don’t appreciate what it means to be alive until it’s too late. My goodness! Even the grass is so green!
Thank you so much!
Has this given you any food for thought? I’d love to hear from you. That poem has certainly given me a lot to think about.
This is part of my series of Letters to Dead Poets which is for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.