Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What's Wrong With Being a Pollyanna?

OK, so recently the term "Pollyanna" has come into my awareness as someone who is idealistic and outside the realm of reality, as in "quit being such a Pollyanna."

My only personal context of Pollyanna is from the 1960 Disney film starring Hayley Mills, but the movie was based on the 1913 novel by Eleanor Porter. To make a long story short, Pollyanna is a young girl who always has a positive outlook on life, even though she's had a lot of adversities to overcome. She is sent to live with her aunt Polly, a wealthy and prominent woman who is very much a glass half empty kind of person. Pollyanna brings with her a game she learned from her father called the Glad Game in which she always finds the good in any situation. In fact, her father gave her a brooch with this inscription on it:

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will."—Abraham Lincoln

(Sound similar to what we've been talking about in this blog recently?)

So when Pollyanna is sent to live with her aunt in the town of Beldingsville, which, since her aunt pretty much runs the town, has taken on her dour attitude, we see how one young, positive girl can actually change the entire town. Despite the fact that her aunt puts her in a stuffy attic room without carpets or pictures, Pollyanna is glad for the wonderful view out the window from her high perch. When her aunt punishes her for being late to dinner by making her eat bread and milk in the kitchen with Nancy, the servant, Pollyanna thanks her aunt because she likes bread and milk and she likes Nancy.

Does it remind you of another young girl who saw the good in the world despite her own situation? I'm thinking of Anne Frank.

So I want to know what's wrong with being a Pollyanna. Seeing the good in every situation by playing the "Glad Game" can't be a bad way to see the world, can it? The cynics of the world may call you naive and they may fight to be right about their cynical attitude. As Richard Bach said in Illusions: "Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours."
Think about Pollyanna during this upcoming election season. Which candidates will you stand for ... the ones who stand for their own positions or those who fight against their opponents?

I'll take Pollyanna any day.


At 8:18 AM, Blogger Melissa said...


Love the title of the blog. I use the word Pollyanna often and I think to myself, does anyone know who I am talking about? We should all have a little more Pollyanna in our lives!

This reminds me of what my 8 year old son said the other day while looking at my newly created vision board.....he wanted to know if you take off the pictures as your dreams come true. Wow, I never thought of it that way, but I told him what a great idea. He is not doubting that my dreams will come true. He even said he agreed with them all....so insightful at such a young age! Maybe we need to kee a vision completed board?

Here is to keeping a bit of Pollyanna in all of us!


At 9:30 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...


Fabulous idea about a completed vision board! We always make "to-do" lists ... how about a "done" list??? Love the insight from your 8-year-old! I'll count on you to keep me up on that 8-year-old wisdom since I don't have such a sage in my home!

Thanks so much for visiting! See you soon!

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think about it, isn't the derisively said, "Quit being such a Pollyanna!" usually verbalized by one who is very much in the glass-half-empty camp? I think it's because they are envious of the positive life outlook they are conscious of lacking for themselves. So now, we just need to figure out how to gently help those folks realize they, too, can incorporate a Pollyanna attitude for their own lives, and that's a good thing! Any ideas or words of wisdom?

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Well, Lisa, what I'm learning is that it really doesn't have too much to do with "them" ... when I decide to just BE Pollyanna, there really aren't too many of "them" around anymore. To put it another way, Gandhi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And that's what I see works in my world. Pollyanna: you go girl!

At 4:11 PM, Blogger circe said...

Love the Pollyanna button! Gotta get one of those and wear it : )

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...


Let's make and market the buttons for the 2008 campaign!

At 2:12 AM, Blogger Michael J. Bennie said...

I found your post when Googling that supposed Lincoln quote that Pollyanna wore on her brooch, and though I was bummed to discover that Lincoln never said it, it's not hard to play the Glad Game here and celebrate having found your blog. As your refreshing title suggests, I already knew that thinking positively was a good thing...but needed your reminder that the Pollyanna story is still great inspiration to do so. I tried to reflect that in my 1/25/08 blog at http://whosyourdaddydiary.blogspot.com. I appreciate what you have to say and the way you are saying it. Thanks for the inspiration!

At 5:42 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...


I'm glad you found me - even if it was because of a misquoted quote! Who knew embellishments even showed up in Pollyanna's world! That'll teach me to do a little more research!

At any rate, I'm happy to have connected with you. Your blogging project is admirable - and I love your writing style. I've really grown to love the world of blogging, even though I write far less than I would like - I'm impressed at your resolve.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2008 full of wonder and amazement (and we'll hope far fewer shiners and punctures!).

Thanks for visiting!


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