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.
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.