Glad Game

Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you know anyone who could be described as a “Pollyanna?” The name is often used to poke fun at someone who is “excessively positive” or “blindly optimistic.” However, the original Pollyanna demonstrated traits that most of us would want to emulate.

In Eleanor Porter’s 1913 best-selling book Pollyanna the title character’s name became associated with someone who had an optimistic outlook. When Pollyanna was orphaned at a young age, she went to live with her stern Aunt Polly. Demonstrating an optimistic attitude learned from her preacher father, Pollyanna ended up bringing joy to Aunt Polly’s household. Little Polly’s life philosophy was centered on what she called the “Glad Game.” The game originated by her missionary parents one Christmas. Pollyanna had hoped for a doll to arrive in the gift shipment but found only a pair of crutches inside. On the spur of the moment, her dad created the Glad Game. He encouraged her to find something to be glad about in every situation. In the case of the crutches, he urged her to be glad because “we don’t need ‘em!”

The young girl learned to find the good in all situations. Pollyanna used her sunny disposition to make her aunt’s house and New England town a pleasant place to live.

Having a “Pollyanna” outlook doesn’t mean that we should ignore sadness or tragedy, but that we have faith that God will work all things for good to those who love him. Pollyanna demonstrated an attitude of gratitude. She chose to look for ways to be thankful.

We can play the Glad Game this Thanksgiving. We can choose to focus on the blessings God has provided us during the past year.

Consider creating your own way to express gratitude by using these activities for your Thanksgiving celebration this year.

Family Thanksgiving Journal
Use a blank journal or notebook and ask each family member to record a note of gratitude. Small children could draw pictures or paste pictures from magazines to show what they are thankful for. Remember to date each entry and add to it all year. Read the entries each Thanksgiving as a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Thankful box
Use a small decorative box or decorate your own with butcher paper and leaves or wrapping paper. Provide a notepad and pens. Assign each family member or guest with the name of someone else. Ask them to write a note of praise about that person. At the end of the Thanksgiving dinner, read the notes aloud.

Gratitude Tree
Fill a vase with twigs. Collect beautiful fall leaves or cut leaves out of construction paper and place them in a basket next to the little tree you’ve created. Provide slips of paper and pens and ask your family members and guests to write down what they are thankful for. Then tape each slips to a leaf and tie it or tape it on a twig. Read the slips during your Thanksgiving dinner.

Thankful Tablecloth
Use a large solid color table cloth. On Thanksgiving trace each person's hand on the table cloth. Ask each person to write in the middle of the hand something they are thankful for and the year. Each year, on the same cloth, repeat the ritual. Enjoy looking back each year and reading the messages of gratitude.

Grateful Space
Create a "grateful space" on a poster, refrigerator, or cork board. Ask family members to post comments or pictures of anything they are thankful for. This display could be used throughout the year as a reminder of blessings.

Let us remember to praise God from whom all blessings flow!

"Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart" (Psalm 32:11).


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