Many years ago while living in Argentina, I flew to a city and took a taxi to some friends’ house where I would be staying while I conducted business there. They weren’t home, so I sat outside along the fence waiting for them. I found myself watching some little children across the street play children’s games. They were having a ball. Suddenly, a pickup truck screeched to a halt, raising a cloud of dust. It was their father. They greeted him warmly, “Hola, Papi.” Despite the excitement of his little children to see him, he never returned their greeting. Instead, he yelled at them to get out of the way while he raced toward the front door kicking toys out of his path. He entered the house and immediately started yelling at his wife. In a few minutes he raced back outside, got into the truck and sped off. The quiet, fun-loving house had been transformed in a matter of minutes into a home filled with anxiety, sadness, confusion and anger. There were cries and sobs coming from the inside and outside of the house—all because of the actions of a careless father. I watched the dust settle as the cloud his truck had stirred up from the dirt road came slowly down. I couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like for this man in 20 or 30 years after the dust of his influence had really settled. Would there be any regrets of how he treated his family? If this is the way he treated his family on a day-to-day basis, I wonder how his children will treat him in his old age?
Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” expresses the idea of living life with no regrets. The traveler was faced with a decision of which road to take—he chose the one less traveled. He knew the importance of his choice because he doubted that he should have that same choice again, and he was right. Gratefully, the poem ends this way:
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.[i]
Life is too important to waste and too valuable to neglect. For that reason, our choices today affect what life will be for us tomorrow.