As with the foot’s journey, the life of a person starts out with endless possibilities. The carefree nature and attributes of children provide them the freedom to view the world the way they see fit. Same is the case with the foot as described in the poem. The foot does not know of the hardships that await it and begins its journey in a carefree manner.
As with the foot, through facing hardships and difficulties, the child realizes that life is not a bed of roses and gradually becomes aware of the harsh realities of life. As the foot learns from experiences and gets acquainted with life in its own way (Neruda 14), so does a person as they grow up. As the foot is unaware of the other foot’s presence (Neruda 15), people also become oblivious to others around them as they become busy with their lives. The poet then goes on to describe the changes that a foot goes through as it passes various phases in life. This can be compared to the development of humans as they go through life and the experiences shape their features.
A person keeps on coping with the difficulties of life relentlessly as long as they are alive and becomes so busy with life that actually forgets to live a little. This is beautifully stated in the poem as “one foot walked, both feet walked; until the whole man stopped” (Neruda 45, 46). As life’s journey ends and only then all the activity stops and all the aspirations of a person are buried with them, similarly, the foot rests after it is buried.
Both the stories are meant as a critique on parenting styles and both perform quite different views regarding the right kind of parenting. In the story “The Most Powerful Question a Parent can Ask” by Neil Millar , the main argument of the author Budge Wilson is that children must be given more responsibility while in the story “Be-ers and Doers”, the main point the author tries to make is that children must be provided more freedom.
Millar points out that by doing all the work on behalf of the children while allowing them complete freedom to pursue meaningless activities is bound to spoil them. He argues that what may be seen as nurturing and facilitating may actually lead to indulging children and encourage development of careless attitude and bad habits in them. The author states that children are certain to become irresponsible if they are not taught to care for themselves from the beginning. Placing responsibility on them is a sure shot way of developing healthy attributes in children such as respect, confidence and a well-rounded personality. On the basis of these reasons, the main goal of the author is to persuade parents to change the way they raise their children. He aims to dissuade pampering of children and preaches that they be made accountable and responsible for small activities and provided encouragement to help develop a positive attitude.
On the other hand, the Wilson believes that too much interference by parents is a negative influence. His aim is to discourage parents who nag their children too much. He states that children must be given freedom to enjoy life and work things out on their own in the way that suits them. He believes that forcing things on children is bound to discourage them from pursuing their own dreams and goals. In light of these views, the piece he has written aims to preach to parents to go easy on their children and encourage and support them in what they want to achieve and are truly interested in.
The goals are similar as they mean to enhance parenting and different as they seem to take opposite approaches.
I believe that the statement that the best gifts are the simplest ones to be absolutely true. There are numerous reason for this belief, but most importantly, I believe the main idea or concept behind a gift is supposed to be more of a gesture than its expensiveness, complexity and worldly value. For example, for a person going through tough times, a simple smile can prove the best gift and all the valuable and complex gifts cannot bring them happiness and satisfaction at that time.
Similarly, on a grassroots level, we have a lot of gifts to be thankful for in our daily lives. The one who understands this fact is sure to lead a content and satisfied life. On the other hand, a person who believes that expensive and intricate things bring joy can never truly appreciate anything. A person who has access to clean food, water, freedom and peaceful living conditions must consider them all gifts and cherish them. Kind words and a warm smile can also serve as the best gift when a person is feeling down. Appreciation of such gifts can truly be understood by people who have all sorts of worldly valuables but still feel depressed, lonely and sad. In this regard, I believe that the best gifts are the simplest ones as this has been the case in my personal experiences as well. As stated earlier, the gesture and feelings associated with the gift count much more than its intricacy and monetary value. For example, I cherish the simple wrist watch gifted to me by my father and prefer it over any other watch as it represents a simplicity, comfort and relation of love between us. It is meant as a token and its true value lies in the feelings that it represents.
The intricacy and monetary value of a gift thus hold little importance and what true matters are the feelings associated with the gesture. This is the reason that I believe that the best gifts are the simplest ones.