by Robert Frost
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 marked 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.
How many of us studied this poem in school? A poem that encourages individualism and taking the chance of being the only traveler on a chosen road. Yet how many schools, governments, companies really encourage us to take the road less traveled? Instead, we are encouraged to be cookie cutter images, falling lockstep into place and agreeing to whatever the status quo may be in the place you happen to find yourself. We applaud the trailblazers - after they've become monetarily successful or after they've passed on and their theories/beliefs have been proven right. But while alive, those who take a different path are often demonized and marginalized.
There seems to be much fear in just listening to a different point of view, in following someone who is marching to the beat of a different drummer. What our society needs is a willingness to listen, just listen, with an open mind and an open heart, to those around us who have different points of view or different beliefs without simply waiting for our chance to speak, to show how right we are.
History has proven that those who take the less traveled road are often the ones who were right in the first place. And even if they were not necessarily right, they were definitely on the right road. Let us learn from history and from those on a different road.