Pretending has been around for a long time. It’s something that we all do at one time or another. Children especially are good at pretending. Play time is really a learning time when pretending allows children to develop skills needed later in life. When they ‘play house’ they are pretending to be like mommy and daddy. If you want to take a look in the mirror and see who you are, just watch your children play. They mimic what they see.
As a child, I remember pretending a lot of things. (I’m going to date myself with this one); but one of my earliest memories of pretending was to use the sofa in our basement rec room as my boat. I was Shirley Temple, and the sofa was my “Good Ship Lollipop” I also remember pretending to be Annie Oakley. That must have been a big one, since I received an Annie Oakley rifle for Christmas when I was just three years old. With my brother and sisters we all moved into the Daniel Boone era. We loved the TV show. I still remember…7pm, Thursday nights. For Christmas we received a real live genuine Daniel Boone kit complete with a replica of Ole Betsy (his long rifle), and a coonskin cap (which I later learned was not genuine to Daniel Boone, but was taken from Fess Parker’s stint as Davey Crockett.) We played Daniel Boone till the cows came home. As the eldest, I usually got to be Dan’l. My dad had made a bar in the basement for when he and mom entertained friends. In between those times, the bar was better known as “Fort Boonesborough”.
Pretending continues as a child ages. When we leave the security of home and venture out into the big world, we often pretend to be someone or something we are not – for various reasons. The class clowns are really quaking and quivering inside, just pretending to be a clown. Many “softies” pretend to be cold and hard on the outside. Someone who is hurting inside puts on a brave, cheerful front. Pretending.
Pretending can be healthy, if not overdone. We played house as young children, then when we grow up and get our first place, we find ourselves ‘playing house’ again! As an empty nester who unloaded the trappings of a large grown up family and moved to an apartment, I find myself once again “playing house”. I pretend that I am my daughter, who thrills at home-making. It sure makes doing dishes more fun! (Uh-huh)
I wonder if today’s cyber/techie children pretend as we did years ago. Do they turn the picnic table upside down in the back yard and pretend it’s a boat? Do they make “camps” in the woods and play pioneers, Indians, spy, or army guys? Do they race their bikes in circles in the front yard and pretend they’re 4-H kids riding their horses at the county fair? On the last day of school do they bring home all their school stuff, then set up to play school?
Pretending is a good thing to do at times. Right now, I’m pretending to be a writer of worth! How about you, what do you pretend?