I was pleased to read “Grumpy Monkey” to Mrs. Guichard’s 1st Grade class last Tuesday. “Grumpy Monkey” is about ‘Jim Panzee’. On Jim’s grumpy day the sun is too bright, the sky is too blue and the bananas are too sweet. All the other animals hover over Jim with a jungle full of things he ought to do, should do, wouldn’t-it-be-fun to do so that he is no longer grumpy. All of which only makes Jim more grumpy.
The book finishes with Jim getting a little less grumpy. So the “Grumpy Monkey” is not a primer on bad behavior.
I noticed something as I read through “Grumpy Monkey”. The little children paid attention. For a brief moment some of those little children were Jim Panzee having their very own grumpy day. They didn’t know why they felt what they felt but they knew it didn’t feel good. They knew being told a hundred different ways not to feel grumpy didn’t work.
It was this moment of silent, empathetic connection between child and story that moved me. They were being seen. A grown up was reading a story describing how they felt. For a brief moment, I was the grown up who saw them. What a privilege for me!
Hagar called upon the God Who Sees. She had been shabbily treated, particularly so by the man of faith, Abram.
“O Abram, how passive you are in this moment! Staggering is your descent from the starlit peak of covenant faith to the dark valley of tepid acquiescence. Hagar deserved better from you, not the least your willingness to confront Sarai’s jealousy and harshness. But you didn’t see Hagar.”
God did. God comes to Hagar. God sees her and promises Hagar a future. She is grateful: “I have seen Him who looks after me.”
You are not overlooked. God sees you. He knows. Praise Him! Praise Him forever!