I’ve given a lot of thought to Pollyanna and optimism in the last few months.  I’m pretty sick and tired of all the snarky cynicism (though given this year’s election, I doubt I’ll escape that anytime soon).  I’m also fairly over the “face reality” philosophy.  I don’t think living in a state of denial is a great idea (i.e. if you’re overdrawn, a spending spree is certainly inadvisable), but I don’t see any reason why you can’t acknowledge challenges and face them with a positive outlook.  When did “Pollyanna” become such a negative term?

So I went back and actually read Pollyanna.  And then I watched the Disney version again (I hadn’t seen it in years).  You know, Pollyanna faced some pretty horrific circumstances.  She grew up in poverty, relying on charity to clothe and feed her.  She was orphaned.  She was shipped off to live with relatives she didn’t know, and weren’t keen to have her.  She was struck by a car and paralyzed.  Maybe the “Glad game” does seem ridiculous.  But, really, what was the alternative?  Hide under the covers and sob the days away?  She knew what she did/didn’t have.  She just knew how to make the best of it (also makes for a better storyline).

The “Glad game” was Pollyanna’s method of looking at a circumstance and finding the silver lining.  You asked for a doll and got crutches?  Be glad you don’t actually need crutches.  (How about be glad a smack with a crutch would leave an impression on the giver?)  Here’s are a couple I’ve been mulling over lately:

1.  That child who has been so painfully slow going in acquiring an /r/?  Guess what!  He has no /r/ in either his first or last name!

2.  The really young kiddo with major intelligibility issues?  He is so blessed with charm and adorable looks, life will be kind regardless!

3.  The sweet child that hates phonemic naming tasks?  It forced me to regroup my approach, create new activities and now sessions whiz by!

4.  End of the month paperwork is looming, yet again?  Ummmm, at least there are clients to write paperwork for!

5.  Referrals have slowed down recently.  Just in time for summer!

Does it mean I don’t try as hard or push  to reach our goals?  No, it’s simply a self-attitude to keep motivation high.

Someone recently asked me about our profession–what we do and how I got into it.  Writing out all that we accomplished to receive our CCCs, thinking about all the different areas to work in (or switch to), adding the link from Money magazine touting speech pathology as the best profession for parents, that was a whole lot of “Glad game.”  Pollyanna would be pleased.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Joan O'Brien

    wow – what a well-timed post –thank you!

    1. admin

      Joan, Glad to hear it resonated with you! Kim

  2. Shane

    Hooray for SLPs! Thank you for your blog today 🙂

    1. admin

      We do have lots to be glad about don’t we?! 🙂 Kim

  3. Sean Sweeney

    Great post. Pollyanna was simply an expert in the cognitive behavioral therapy strategy of “reframing” haha

    1. admin

      Love it! Thanks for adding on! Kim

Comments are closed.


The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.