The road not taken: Choices, decisions

Tim Mills Until Then

September 15, 2013

The poet Robert Frost in his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ provides a picture of what we do every day, and often all throughout each day we live…making decisions. The process of making decisions is really never easy. In the legal system one can often hear the term “weighing in the balance” or if not used directly or spoken as such, we certainly use the process of putting things up against each other to determine a result or make a decision.

In ‘The Road Not Taken’ there are two roads that diverge and this occurrence is the one we walk upon in our daily lives as well. The task is figuring out which road to take. Problems are often so overwhelming that we can become frustrated and if not careful or maintaining vigilance to our process we might just say “just take any road, let’s just do something.” My mind is flooding with experiences of having witnessed people and organizations just making a decision, any decision as long as it is a decision. The process of making a choice is difficult. It requires consideration of consequences. The process of making a choice should require us to have a conversation with trusted advisers, mentors, family members or folks that we have found to be trustworthy and one who shares honest advice not just what you or I may want to hear.

The traveler in this poem stands still and looks not just one way but the other way too. This traveler considers several factors before rendering a decision or a plan of action. Considerations actually begin with the road itself. There is quite a description of the choices. Both roads look fair. Either one might turn out better than the other, there seems to be very little to answer that question at the beginning of this decision. The roads looked after a fair evaluation to be honestly the same. They appeared to be equal. You and I know that looks can be deceiving. First impressions are not always accurate. In life, you and I will find ourselves at this same spot if you have not already done so.

Every young person, teenager reading this column should learn that their day of required decisions is coming. They will not be able to escape making a choice on so many different topics and choices. The best option for us as adults, parents, community volunteers and concerned citizens is to be involved in the lives of others, by sharing and helping others learn all about decisions. Because of the experience of the passing of time, adults should be able to clearly demonstrate that this skill must be learned or you will become stranded on a roadside unable to make decisions or in the worst case always making the wrong decision with each intersection that diverges upon them.

Robert Frost wrote that “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.”

What answer will you and I be able to write because of the choices and decisions we have made? What will we be telling throughout our life time about the road we have traveled? I love history; I enjoy so much hearing about the way things have developed over time. Listening to someone tell their story of experiences because of their actions is such a great learning tool. My observations include that I have witnessed some never sharing because they are trapped by fear. Fear of what others will say and even fear about how things will turn out. It is always easy to stay where you are and pray that things never change, or you can look down the other road and doubt if you will ever return, making this decision even more important and making sure you make the right decision because of history.

Some have written in life that things are a chance. I will share that I do not hold this position at all. I don’t believe anything rest on the opportunity of chance. I view opportunity as one that is created because of your hard work and dedication or opportunity exists because you were prepared for any given moment of time. Being prepared is the single most important action and it also requires the biggest commitment and dedication.

I discovered through faith in Jesus Christ that the saving part of His mercy and grace is all His doing. The growing part of this relationship building is all on me. He is ready to help at each of your crossroads in life. A decision to take the one less traveled by will make all the difference.

Contact Tim H. Mills at tim@timhmills.com or follow him on Twitter: @THMills.