A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled onto the old classic Disney film Pollyanna. I loved the movie as a child and enjoyed watching it again. The story is a simple one. A little girl comes to live with her wealthy Aunt Polly after her father dies. A stern perfectionist, Aunt Polly is used to intimidating the whole town, even the minister by suggesting scriptures and themes for his weekly sermons.
Aunt Polly is not prepared for Pollyanna’s optimistic attitude that she learned from her father. Her philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game,” a game that consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. The Glad Game has seen Pollyanna through the toughest of circumstances in her young life, including the loss of both her parents. Seeing the good in people around her, despite their negative outlooks on life, slowly wins over even the grumpiest residents of the town. Pollyanna’s sunny personality and sincere attitude literally transforms the community into a pleasant place to live.
The term “Pollyanna” is usually thought to describe someone who unfailingly finds the good in life, no matter the circumstances. In today’s fast paced, success-oriented, complicated world it often takes on a negative connotation, as if finding the good was hopelessly naïve and unrealistic.
In this Christmas season of love and giving, what if we all took this simple lesson to heart? What if we absolutely insisted on seeing the best in each other? What if we always looked for silver linings and knew, just knew they would be there? What if we took it upon ourselves to always bring good cheer, always lend a hand when needed, and always, without fail, without regard for what was in it for us, love others? Life would be transformed for us and for those around us.
Ending on a Positive Note: The point of Pollyanna’s Glad Game was the challenge to discover something in any situation you could be glad about. I don’t think my mother ever saw the movie, but she had the same philosophy because she used to tell me, “Look for the good in people and you will always find it.” Think I’ll take a lesson from Pollyanna and my mother and play the Glad Game this Christmas and throughout the coming year.