Path to Gratitude

On Monday I posted about  the book that most influenced me for the lesson it taught about optimism: Pollyanna, written by Eleanor H. PorterYou can find that post here.

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.

PollyannaAs 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 ;)!

Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you find much to be grateful for today!


Filed under Books, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction, Vintage American culture, Writing

19 responses to “Path to Gratitude

  1. What a great book and movie! I had a girl crush on Hayley Mills, growing up. I need to get this book for my grandaughter to read. Thanks for the reminder of always being positive. It’s not always easy, but practice does help!

    • Luanne

      Hayley was fabulous! I get lots of practice hahaha. Plus, my husband is a very excellent pessimist so I am always practicing my optimism skills “against” him ;). Happy Thanksgiving, Ruth.

  2. The list is indeed endless, Luanne. A few months back when I did a post called “Calling All Spouses – the 30-day Gratitude Challenge” I got so caught up in the sentiment that for 30 days I posted a Gratitude saying on FB and made a Pinterest Gratitude board. I want it to be a way of life as opposed to a feeling! So MUCH to be grateful for. And I count connections with new writing friends like you among the blessings. Hope your day is special.

    • Luanne

      Shel, your gratitude challenge is really wonderful. What a great campaign! Aw, thank you. I feel the same way about meeting you. Happy happy day to you!

  3. I’ve gotten off that path lately, but I am trying to get back on it! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  4. We do have a lot to be thankful for.

  5. The fact that I’m able to get out of bed each morning and walk across the room, makes me grateful. Your last post about Pollyanna brought back a memory from long ago. I worked with a woman who had a lot of anger stemming from her past. During a conversation one day, she said in a harsh tone, “You’re such a Pollyanna, Jill.” She said it to hurt me, but I took it as a compliment. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving, Luanne!

    • Luanne

      Yes, it’s definitely a compliment, and she’s a fool not to see that. I thought a lot about Pollyanna when I had foot surgery a few years ago. I couldn’t walk for months and was mostly “tied” to a hospital bed in my living room. It seemed as if I had been preparing for it since I was 5 –by Pollyanna.
      I hope your day was lovely, Jill!

  6. Wonderful post Luanne what you say can never be said too often, and you said it beautifully – thank you

    • Luanne

      Valerie, thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, reminders about this are always useful. It helped me just to write the post!

  7. I enjoyed this for many reasons, I always thought it was a very good book, along with a good movie. I think it is always necessary to have reminders to be grateful for our limbs and life, too! Thanks for this shared message, Luanne!

    • Luanne

      I’m glad you liked it, Robin! It is good to reminded of all we have to be grateful for at times. I become complaisant (sp?) to the good things because they are “standbys” and feel frustrated when smaller things go wrong. So silly. Sooooo silly.

      • You will not believe this, but I was going to post about the word, “complacent” or “complaisant!” I started it, but wanted to get my Mom story, Thanksgiving memories and my granddaughter’s birthday party posted first! My good friend, Bill and I were discussing that word, so you will see it in a couple of days! Great minds think alike (again!)

  8. I put your link to your blog on “Meaning of Complacent,” but did feel I have seen this word written as “complaisant” like the French may say it or Latin? Smiling at our sometimes silly way we may go back and forth! I hope it is okay to say on your blog, please edit this if you wish I enjoyed your poem on the BePoet site but wanted to ask you, as a spelling ‘nut’ did you mean to write rice “paddies” instead of rice “patties?” Just being helpful and not trying to step on any toes, okay? Hugs, Robin

    • Luanne

      Good grief! What is wrong with me?! I used to be a good speller. I told my husband and he gave me a look like he was worried about me yikes. You’re right about the rice paddy! I must have been thinking of a fried food dish haha. I looked up complaisant. It turns out it is an English word, but the meaning is different from complacent. Now I have no idea what I was writing about any longer (but pretty sure I thought I was writing the complacent meaning ;)), but I will go check out your post! Thanks, Robin. xo

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