by Marie Wilson

Game of Gratitude

What makes your gladbones tingle? Play the Glad Game and find out. What a wacky notion for today’s world, finding something to be glad about no matter your circumstances!


This game of gratitude has its origins in a novel called “Pollyanna”, which was published and set in the early 1900s. Eleanor H. Porter penned this book about a recently orphaned 11 year old girl who is sent to live with her stern aunt in a small New England town. Pollyanna finds herself surrounded by curmudgeons and pooh-bahs in her new town, and her survival strategy consists of finding something to be happy about no matter what.


The Glad Game came into existence one Christmas past when Pollyanna had hoped to get a doll from the missionary barrel but instead got an pair of old crutches. To ease her disappointment, her dad invented the game on the spot, telling her to be glad about the crutches because “we don’t need ’em!” In 1960 Disney adapted the book into a movie; my kidself gives it five stars – it made me feel very glad.


There are things going on in the world today that have no gladness in them and that’s one of the reasons why it’s a putdown to be called a “Pollyanna”. Being a cockeyed optimist amidst such catastrophe seems ridiculous. Nevertheless, it can be helpful in the face of challenging times to turn some bullshit in your life into something that makes your gladbones tingle. Try it.

Top photo by Marie Wilson of Tom Henry being glad when he got a Sega Genesis for Christmas 


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