Learning by Doing

This reminds me of past conversations on liturgy and “faking it till you make it” with Dr. Davis. It’s encouraging as I begin this counseling internship.

“What is the good of pretending to be what you are not? Well, even on the human level, you know there are two kinds of pretending. There is a bad kind, where the pretence is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there is also a good kind, where the pretence leads up to the real thing. When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are. And in a few minutes, as we have all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were. Often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups–playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.”

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


4 thoughts on “Learning by Doing

  1. Beautiful quote. I love how he relates it to children playing pretend. I remember when I first got married, first became a teacher, I had this sense that I was playing pretend. That it wasn’t quite the real deal, but a game. Because all my childhood, I had tried on those parts in order to grow into them. It was a seamless transition.

    1. Mmm, yes, I remember feeling that too when my friends first started getting married. It seemed surreal. It’s cool how at a young age we unintentionally start practicing for things that will come later in life.

  2. Great CS Lewis quote. What a conduit he was for God’s wisdom. This also works for marriage or any relationship…even if you don’t feel like being kind to one another, pretend to be kind, and eventually the feelings follow.
    I looked this concept up and found that…
    “It is often recommended as a therapy technique for combating depression. In this case, the idea is to go through the routines of life as if one were enjoying them, despite the fact that initially it feels forced, and continue doing this until the happiness becomes real. This is an example of a positive feedback loop.
    The phrase is often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous even though it does not appear in either of the books that form the foundation of the AA program, Alcoholics Anonymous or The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.[4] AA to Z; An Addictionary of the 12-Step Culture describes it as a “suggestion often made to newcomers who feel they can’t get the program and will go back to old behavior. The suggestion implies that if the newcomer acts according to the steps and teachings of the program, then the program will begin to work and the anxiety will fall away.”

    Interesting to see so many situations in which this concept works…and as Lauren mentioned, the power of “pretend” as children assists us to take on adult roles. Of course, we can also call upon God’s Spirit to enable us to pretend or fake it in the first place!! 🙂

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