Did you see this coming? Today is Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks and show gratitude.
Even more than optimism, Pollyanna (the character, the book, and the movie) teaches a path to gratitude. The focus on finding something to be glad about makes us find something to be grateful for:
Miss Polly actually stamped her foot in irritation. “There you go like the rest,” she shouted. “What game?”
At last Nancy told her all about the story of how the crutches arrived instead of a doll, and how Pollyanna’s father had taught her that there was always something to be glad about.
Miss Polly couldn’t believe it. “how can someone ever be glad of crutches?” she demanded to know.
“Simple” said Nancy. “In Pollyanna’s case, she could be glad she didn’t need them!”
Pollyanna’s father taught her to be grateful that she was healthy and had full use of her limbs. After all, that’s more valuable than any doll. Later, when Pollyanna learns that she can’t walk, we are reminded of this earlier lesson as Pollyanna has to learn to use her powerful positive attitude in the face of worse odds than she ever had faced before.
While the book has a Christian context, I think it’s valuable for all people. What is the point of being unhappy or, as Pollyanna points out in the story, merely breathing? Living in the fullest sense is so much more important than just existing–and to do that we have to find reasons to be grateful. The path to gratitude is built of many steps, and each step is a point at which the traveler chooses to be grateful for a trouble.
As I sarcastically mentioned in my last post, that’s the problem with The Glad Game or The Path to Gratitude: it’s a never-ending path. You have to stay the course your whole life. It’s like any exercise, though, do it often enough and you get better and better at it ;)!