Joan Reynolds

Real Faith, Real Life & Real Joy

Pre’tending’….fastest way to change behaviors!


I just spent the past two days playing with my 2.5 yr old granddaughter. I love our time together because it is most often spent in the ‘wiving woom’ playing whatever game she wants. She has an amazing mind and capacity for remembering and arranging data, and all her experiences to date have seemingly been cataloged for her to revisit at will. As my brain requires more and more focus to bring about this compliance, I am both intrigued and thrilled to see how she utilizes so much information, all relatively brand new to her.

Her favorite games to play involve ‘tending’. This is her best attempt at the moment at ‘pretending’, and yet I found her shortened version of the word extremely accurate to explain what she, and I as her accomplice,were really doing. Whether it was flying on an airplane, swimming in the ocean, or cooking in her kitchen, there was not a detail of the process that she left out.

Turning the knobs on and off on her ‘stove’, the ding of the ‘microwave’ signalling done, blowing away the steam on the ‘soup’ before we ate it, putting our seat belts on in the ‘tend’ airplane, after putting our suitcases securely under our chairs, then remembering to remove each in the correct order  before getting up: the details of her follow through were incredible.

Even when we played in the ‘ocean’ of my puffy comforter on the guest room bed, she made a practice of confronting the situation that may hold the most fear for her at the moment (being knocked over by a wave) by repeatedly having it happen and laughing as she fell down and got herself up giggling at how much fun it was to be knocked over by a comforter wave. Knowing this was  a scenario that had brought her to tears mere weeks ago, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her happily confront it over and over again, to ingrain on her mind a different outcome for the next little wave that overcomes her and momentarily destabilizes her balance.

She also surrounds herself with the most positive company while attempting to change her perspective: her never far from her arms BFF bear, and assorted other stuffed cuddly companions, who also braved the waters with her, mostly so she could teach them how to prepare and react, as her Dada had taught her.

“Tending” is indeed a perfect way to rehearse the things in life we want to confront and change and make a new path for, helping us to prepare the way. The word implies we are doing it with great care and attentiveness. It has been taught by those who have led for generations and will continue until the end of time. One thing we need to do to change our attitude and outlook is to simulate a new one, and practice it until it replaces the old one that no longer serves us well. The other is to ask God to help us make that change. I am grateful once again for the guidance of the littlest among us who will show us the way to confront our own fears, if only we are willing to pay close attention.

posted under Family

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