For the past few weeks, I have witnessed a very sad and troubling series of events that have left me disappointed and dishearten. I cannot help but remember Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken every time I think about these events.
I have assumed, perhaps because I am too naive, that all parents want their children to be great, special and decent and that in the end we want them to be "winners." These are the children who will one day become the men and women who run our government, file our taxes, or prescribe our medication when we are ill.
As a parent I want my boys to speak up with respect, ask questions when unsure and always perform their best at whatever they do. I constantly remind them that good is not good enough...that great is better. Then when they can't deliver great but instead deliver good, we have that heart to heart conversation and they understand. Even though my expectations are high and they can't always deliver, mom and dad love them very much no matter what. Funny, but they work so hard to be "great" because they know it is expected in our home.
We want them to have dignity and integrity and when they commit to a project they must fulfill their obligations. Period. Losing is not welcomed in our home. We do not think this way; we do not work this way, and we do not live this way. And no... that does not mean we do not lose at times. I have failed, my husband has failed and everyone around has failed. What it does mean is that we do not embrace failure, accept it and go out and look for it. However, in recent days I have witnessed a group of adults embrace failure with such ease. It was as if they loved having failed...it was just alright to lose, to not do the job right, ok to walk away when things got too tough and so on and so on. This acceptance or apathy confuses me because I see how these children, the ones who belong to the adults I speak of, react to what they see before their very eyes.
These adults model a behavior and attitude that simply says to their child, I care for nothing, need nothing and want nothing and I will settle for whatever scraps or leftovers life throws at me. I have no aspirations, no desires, no need for many friends or large amounts of money. I will take whatever I can get as long as I do not have to work too hard for it. My God...what are they thinking? Or, what am I thinking?
What will happen to our children, when they grow. Who will they be? What will they be? Does anyone ever ask that question? I do not want to create a world of losers... I want it all easy, give me something, anything just don't make it so difficult because if I can't get it right the first time then I am running as fast as I can kind of person. It is so much easier to take the easy road, the quick and fast route that may lead to no where. How many people out there still thirst for the adventure of overcoming obstacles and achieving victory after having fought a good fight? Where are the leaders of tomorrow that will think, analyze, collaborate and innovate? The world needs men and women who will conduct dedicated and thorough searches in their quest for answers. We will need critical minds and courageous souls to undertake the challenges in the future.
And so I ask myself...what road shall my boys take when they get to that yellow wood. Will they take the one that is grassy and needs wear or will they choose the other? I want to believe they will choose well, but wonder what will the others chose, the ones who have been taught to dream not, to live small and think small. Those who believe they should wait for opportunity to come to them and "give" them what they need are sadly trotting down a sad and empty road. The ones who believe in opportunity, seek it out and challenge themselves in the end find great satisfaction in whatever they achieve. As they journey through life, what will they find or what will they create for themselves...victory or defeat?
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."