This morning my little Julianna came to me all excited, telling me that now she could shuffle cards two different ways.  ‘Watch me,’ she said.  And she demonstrated the normal way, as you see above, both hands equidistant from her body.

“Now look at this new way I can do it.”  She started to demonstrate, then looked at where I was sitting, and said, ‘No, wait, I need to turn around sideways so you can see how I’m doing it.”

And then she did it this way, with one hand close to her body, and one further away.

From a different angle

I praised the skill that she was obviously so proud of gaining, and realized she’d demonstrated another skill along with card-shuffling.  Her moving to accommodate what I could see in my line of sight demonstrated that she’s now old enough to envision something from another human’s point of view.

I think we all wax and wane in showing that ability sometimes.  There are times when I get so bound up in frustration over my child not doing something that I think he should do, that I forget to make that mental switch, to envision how things might look from inside his head.  When people have conflicts with friends, it is often for the same reason:  we forget to try to imagine life from their point of view.  Of course none of us can do this all the time perfectly.  Sometimes when understanding is hard to find, it’s because we need to take the time to ask a few more questions.  (And offer more forgiveness and grace, always.)

But I’m going to remember this picture of my daughter’s graceful little hands moving her cards so that I could see them better, and try to give folks around me the grace of taking a moment to imagine life from their viewpoint.


  1. All of my kids have mastered the shuffling of cards much to my amusement because I cannot ‘do’ it- for all my years of trying I just don’t get it.
    Seeing things from other people’s perspective is a talent that most people will never learn. It is not until they suffer a tragic health diagnosis, job ending, moving to a new neighborhood or school, death of a loved one, some other catastrophic event, or a miracle or blessing that we think about other people’s way of seeing things.
    For the last 14 years I have tried to not worry about the little stuff because none of us knows when it could all come crashing down. 14 years is when my world shifted at the cancer diagnosis of my 15 month old and my life started down a path I had never envisioned. 14 years of hospitals, surgeries, ambulance trips, visits to labs–all have helped us to live each day to its fullest.
    I always remember I do not know what is happening in people’s lives and to be very careful of my words to other people.

    • Right, I’ve told my kids that people’s behavior toward you is usually more about them and the challenges they’re having than it is about you. Life is hard, for everyone.

  2. Oh! I loved this. Thank you. =)