Photo of Pollyanna book cover
Image via Amazon.com

We just finished listening to the audiobook version of Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter. I was familiar with the name but knew nothing of the story. This title wasn’t even on our reading list but my daughter stumbled upon it in our Kindle app and, out of curiosity, pressed the start button. She came to me very excited after finishing the first chapter and I decided to listen along. Six hours of our life invested very wisely I would say. There is no doubt we’ll be listening again. I wouldn’t mind doing so right now even though we finished the last chapter only this afternoon.

I’m pretty sure this will be THE book for 2017. Each year I pick our favorite read, hunt for a beautiful illustrated edition and present it to our daughter on Christmas day. Last Christmas she received The Princess and Curdie; the Christmas before A little Princess won the honor. Each carefully chosen volume stands on our special “Spark Joy” shelf in the living room; precious guests who have earned a permanent welcome in our house.
As of December, Pollyanna will be living with us. As of today, she’ll be living within us.
This one book will have a massively positive impact on my daughter’s attitude and outlook on life; I can already tell. I sure wouldn’t mind being just like Pollyanna when I grow up. It’s not too late for me of course, but my daughter, who gets such an early start, has a real shot at it.
She’s already a cheerful, outgoing little girl who sprinkles joy everywhere she goes. And now, this story has shown her how simple it is to affect the world around her. She must guard her heart against harshness, hostility and pessimism and make kindness, compassion and optimism her greatest allies.

Most children know this intuitively. Most adults have forgotten.
Most adults would counter that Pollyanna’s childish ways, though somewhat endearing, are naive at best and certainly unrealistic and impossible to implement in the “real” world.

I disagree.
I think it is a most healthy and simply beautiful viewpoint.
I think we would all be much better off if we made an effort to channel Pollyanna’s childlike wonder.

“If you want to make the world a better place, you must look at yourself and make a change” sang Michael Jackson. Pollyanna gently reminds us that the greatest change we can implement is to focus on gratitude. It always comes back to gratitude.

Acceptance. Contentment. Finding joy in what is even though it’s not perfect… especially when it’s not perfect.

To stop focusing on what WE are missing and search instead for ways to fill up others around us.
Selfishness defeated by generosity.
Sadness defeated by outreach.
We each have the power to make people feel better or feel worse when they are in our presence.
We each get to decide how we are remembered.
Will our loved ones cherish the memory of our times together or will they feel some sense of relief when they are freed from our sullen, sulky, surly moods?

Change of perspective.
Change of words.
Change of actions.
Change of attitude.
Change of feelings.

Changing ourselves.
Changing the world.

We simply MUST do it!

Though the freckled faced, strawberry blonde eleven year old little girl never truly existed, she feels so very real to me.

Miss Pollyanna Whittier, I’m so glad to know you.

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