Our grandson was with us last evening, and that got me to thinking about and praying for parents everywhere and of every age. Parents have a difficult and important job, raising the “blank slates” of children into good and well-functioning adults.
And the Daily Prompt, “tend,” and its many uses fits well into a post about parents.
I tend to be into getting into the origin of our words. These days, tend, tender, attend are some of our most prevalent terms. But, they have varying definitions.
The common denominator seems to be focused around stretching, or being stretched. The shared root word is from Latin, tendere, “stretch, hold forth (as in holding something out to someone).”
There are half a dozen established uses of “tend-words.”
- Tend/Attend, verb, regularly or frequently behave in a particular way or being present at (something or somewhere)
- Tend/Attend, verb, to care for or look after, give one’s attention to
(Note: “attention’s” origin is also tendere)
- Tender, adj, showing gentleness and concern or sympathy
Tender, adj, being soft, sensitive, vulnerable, or requiring gentleness and careful handling (This one is from Latin, tenere, but it also has to do with “stretch”
- Tender, verb/noun, to make a formal offer or the offer itself
- Tender, noun, someone or something who/which attends to someone or something
The “stretching out” idea is, I think, easy to see. If you tender a payment, for example, you’re offering cash in your hand, which you’re holding out to the payee.
“Caring for” is similar in that one is stretching out toward or paying attention to someone or something. Someone who does the caring is the noun of this version.
Regular attendance comes from the idea of such regularity being akin to “holding a course,” like in sailing.
There’s also the effect of something that’s being stretched out – it can be “stretched thin.” This gives us the adjective of weak, soft, vulnerable, and/or delicate, therefore needing to be treated gently, and the giving of such gentle care.
So, to sum it all up in one sentence, tell me if this is stretching it too far:
Parents, aka baby tenders, tend to tender tender tending to their tender young ones’ tender bumps and bruises.