Learn the Glad Game

And play it often!

Are you old enough to remember the story of Pollyanna and her “Glad Game?” Right now, some youth among our readers may be Googling the word “Pollyanna.” Let me save you the trouble. In quick summation, Pollyanna had a super attitude about life in a world that was not always so super.

It was first published as a bestselling novel in 1913 and later adapted for film.  Pollyanna told the tale of a young orphan forced to live with her grumpy aunt after the death of her missionary parents.  A cast of cynical characters provided plenty of conflict for the relentlessly positive Pollyanna to respond with the “Glad Game.”  The game was born when the missionary office, responded to her father’s request for a secondhand doll for Pollyanna, by sending a pair of crutches instead. Seeing his daughter’s disappointment, he invented the “Glad Game” on the spot, suggesting that, rather than focusing on her utter disappointment, they look for a reason to be glad about the crutches. It took them some real effort, but they finally decided they could at the very least be glad they didn’t need the crutches.  To this day, Pollyanna is one of my favorites.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting we all live in a fantasy. After all, reality can be rough, and venting can be healthy. There is, however, a difference between complaining when it is a tough day and negativity as a way of life. Happiness seems to be something everyone is chasing. So why are we afraid to find it? A little optimism can go a long way!  The same can be said for a small amount of negativity.  It can transform a bad instance into a bad day or a bad week into a bad year. Why not start noticing and celebrating all the good things happening in your life, the lives of those around you, and in your community? There’s a lot to be glad about.

“I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to greet the unknown with a cheer” — Eleanor Porter, the author of Pollyanna.

Here are some more ideas for helping us find gladness:

Start a thankful poster. Title it with “I’m thankful for…” and hang it on the wall. Let family members, coworkers, or students fill it in with things they are thankful for.

Keep a Gratitude Journal.  Start each morning by jotting five to ten things. By being intentional about finding things to be grateful for, you train your brain to always be looking for glad things.

Have everyone share something they are thankful for at breakfast or at dinner.

Choose one person each Tuesday (or any day you prefer) and everyone must tell that person why they are thankful for him or her.

Every time someone complains (healthy venting), then work together to find something to be glad about in the situation.

Just try it. It’s wonderfully infectious.

Check out one of our “gladdest” moments! When our daughter surprised us with her pregnancy announcement!

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