One of my favorite Disney films is Pollyanna. I love watching it, even at this stage in life. Hubby thinks it is too simplistic, but in its defense it is tailor-made for children. As usual, Disney deviated from the original story in order to give the impression of a happier ending. But the simple lessons override that.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Mrs. Snow (Agnes Moorehead) plays a cantankerous hypochondriac with the belief that she is not long for this world, and is determined to make everyone around her as miserable as she feels. After many tries to make her feel better, Pollyanna explodes and informs her that she should be happy that so many people do care, instead of complaining about insignificant and surely non-existent maladies. Simply, no matter how bad things are, there is always someone who cares for you.
Don’t shut yourself from the world.
Mr. Pendergast (Adolphe Menjou) is a hermit. He wants nothing to do with humanity, and wishes to be left alone. When he catches Pollyanna and Jimmy skulking around his house, he tries to scare them away, only to find that by putting Jimmy to work, he finds a lonely soul to fit his. Simply, one is never truly alone in the world.
The Greater Good is neither great, nor good.
Aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) is the town paragon, her father having founded it. She thinks of herself as the pillar on which everyone should rely. She controls the town to honor her father, and refuses to let it change, thinking she knows best. SHE will pay for this, and SHE will pay for that, but in return people have to be grateful, and she also expects the town to adhere to her personal beliefs, which includes controlling the church itself. It takes Pollyanna’s accident to make her see what love and charity really are. Simply, one should do acts of kindness for others, not for oneself.
Always find a reason to be glad.
That was her jones. Pollyanna always looked for the good, or the best, or the happy in people, in places, in things. She had an awful dress, but was glad it wasn’t boy’s trousers. Her father had asked for a doll in the missionary barrels, but received a pair of crutches. She was glad she didn’t need them. Simply, there is always a silver lining.
Sometimes we are bogged down with unfortunate events, sad news, things that are out of our control. I used to be full of worry and angst over the minutiae of every day. Did a payment go through? Did I answer that email? Is the water filter working? One day my daughter (she was 8 years old at the time) asked me why I was always so unhappy. And then my husband asked why I was angry all the time. I hadn’t noticed how my state of mind affected everyone around me. And then I remembered this movie, and found a reason to be glad. Oh, I’m not happy all day. I’m Puerto Rican, after all. But I do find something to be happy about every day.
And that makes all the difference :)