If you've ever read the book, Pollyanna, you will know immediately what this post is about. We have been reading this book as our lunchtime read aloud, and I think I have mentioned before how much I love it. I know some people think it a bit saccharine which I think is due to the above mentioned Glad Game. I don't think I will spoil the story by sharing with you what the game is about. Pollyanna grew up with her missionary preacher father in the western states at the turn of the century. They were very poor and depended heavily on missionary barrels for much of what they had. The Glad Game began when Pollyanna was once hoping that a doll would arrive in the barrel, but instead found a pair of crutches. Her father suggested that they play a game where they would think of a reason to be glad about the crutches. Pollyanna couldn't think why she should be glad she had crutches instead of a doll, so her father suggested she could be glad that she didn't need the crutches and could run and walk without trouble. As they played the game it became a habit... a habit of looking for the good in any situation.
This positive outlook on life, certainly not shared by any of the other characters in the book, is what gives Pollyanna the girl her charm. Even the most dour of individuals in the story cannot continue in their unhappiness in the face of Pollyanna's joy. And it's not that Pollyanna is a perfect child, she experiences sadness and disappointment and dismay, it's just that in the end, habit wins out and joy returns.
I love that this is such a wonderful example of Biblical instructions. We are to be thankful in everything, we are to love our neighbor (even the crotchety, curmudgeonly ones), and we are to count all as joy. Not easy instructions, but ones that with practice will become easier. They are habits to be encouraged.
You know what I love most? I love that I have heard my children and myself using that phrase, "I would think you would be glad that..." It is one that Pollyanna uses often, and it seems it is a bit contagious. So, thanks to a joy-filled little girl in an old chapter book, we are all getting a little better at finding the things we should be thankful for.