The Glad Game!

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glad game


Let me introduce you to Pollyanna. Raised in a poor but happy home, she lost her missionary parents and is sent to live with her rich but mean Aunt Polly. The atmosphere of her new home is dreary and gloomy.

However, Pollyanna brings joy and gladness to the mansion as well as the entire town. She teaches them to play the Glad Game.

What is the Glad Game?

It’s a game her father created.

You see, the mission board had sent her father a letter years ago asking the missionary family what they could send to his little girl. She desperately wanted a little doll. When the package arrived just before Christmas, she was so excited to see her doll. Instead, there was a pair of crutches. Instantly, her father made up the Glad Game.

“Let’s think of a reason to be glad,” he said.

After much thought, they decided they were glad they didn’t have to use the crutches. Tears were soon wiped away, and laughter filled the little house.

Like a breath of fresh air, Pollyanna swept through the town of Harrington teaching folks to play the Glad Game. The entire town was transformed! Of course, there is a tragedy, but I won’t spoil the story for you if you haven’t read the book yet.

I met Pollyanna years ago in a book Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter. I introduced my children to the book and the movie produced by Disney in the early sixties. My family and I love Pollyanna!


Teaching Our Children to Play the Glad Game

In our daily lives, we face many frustrations. Our children do too, just like the servants who worked for Pollyanna’s aunt.

What makes the daily frustrations tolerable?

When you focus on the positive instead of the negative.

There will always be frustrations and heartaches. After all, we live in a fallen world. However, just as the rain falls on the just and unjust, the sun also shines on us all. There are always blessings in our lives. In fact, they are new every morning because God is faithful.

I encouraged all my children to read Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter. We also watched the Disney movie Pollyanna. After we watched the movie, I challenged my children to play the Glad Game.

We asked ourselves, “What can we be glad about?”

That ushered in so much thankfulness! We could be glad that we had food, a home, friends, family, a great church. We were thankful for our salvation, parents that loved us enough to homeschool, letters in the mail, and the sweet song of the robin outside our kitchen window.

There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be glad about!

Teaching my kids to play the Glad Game opened their eyes to all the blessings that surrounded them day after day. Best of all, it changed the atmosphere of our home. The “gloomies” and the “greedies” became less frequent visitors. Laughter was heard more often.


Let Thankfulness Transform Your Home School

Thankfulness changes the atmosphere of our home because it makes our hearts joyful.

I always remind my worship team that the Lord commands us in Psalm 100:4 to “enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”

After all, when we play the Glad Game and focus on being thankful, it leads us to the Giver of all good gifts, Our Heavenly Father.

God has given us our families and provided the money that we can use to buy homeschool curriculum. God allows us the privilege of learning and teaching. God blesses us with learning opportunities all day long, every day of the year. Our lives are a continual feast of blessings.

Do hard times come? Yes. Do we sometimes not get what we really want? Yes. Do people let us down? Yes.

So often, my children can be attacked by the “greedies” and think about what they want but don’t have. Hey, I can do that sometimes, too.

Thankfulness attacks the “greedies” monster and quiets our hearts. You see, God is for us, not against us. He does not withhold good things from us. Often those things that we think are so good are just a snare from the devil to trip us up.

Thankfulness for being home and enjoying the privilege of learning puts a new spin on learning for children. Being thankful for how Mommy serves in the home and Daddy works hard so she can be home gives children an appreciation for their parents. Being thankful for siblings cuts down on the arguing and competition.

The Glad Game, which is really cultivating a thankful heart, will truly change your homeschool. Let me tell you, the atmosphere it creates, is so much easier to teach in than one of frustration and grumpiness.


The Joy of Thankfulness

When I’m a grumpy Mom because I haven’t slept and I don’t feel like cooking or schooling much less cleaning, I make a choice.

I WILL play the Glad Game.

I know that sounds silly. But, I have spent the last ten years of my life retraining my brain. I have gone from being a complainer to being a thankful person.

Okay, now, let’s be honest here. Most of the time when I am grumpy, the last thing I want to do is be thankful. When the children are fighting, the last thing I want to do is be grateful. However, when I step out in faith and start thanking God (like this, “Father, I’m grumpy but I thank you that I can be home with my children. I thank you that I have five beautiful children and I have the privilege of homeschooling them. I thank you for my husband who works so hard….”), something changes in my heart.

It is impossible to be grumpy and miserable when you are thanking God. Suddenly, the sun bursts through the clouds, and rays of magnificent splendor flood my soul! Okay, I’m being dramatic, but that’s how amazing it is! Thankfulness really fixes our eyes on the Lords and transforms our hearts!

Best of all, when we are thankful, our children learn to be thankful, too, in a genuine way. After all, “more is caught, than taught” when it come to virtuous living.


Here are some more ideas for helping us grow in gratitude:

  • Start a thankful poster. Title it with “I’m thankful for…” and hang it on the wall. Let family members fill it with things they are thankful for.
  • Memorize verses on thankfulness.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal.
  • Start each morning by thanking the Lord for 10 things before you get out of bed.
  • Everyone shares something they are thankful for each morning at breakfast.
  • Choose 1 person each Tuesday (or other day you prefer) and everyone has to tell that person why they are thankful for him or her. This is quite encouraging!


12 Happy Habits  podcast

Living Faith from Generation to Generation to Generation blog post

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter


Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,


Meredith Curtis


Meredith Curtis – homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher – loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of American Literature & Research,  Americana Newspaper Reporting, Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at Read her blogs at  and and listen to her at Finish Well Podcast.


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1 Comment to “ The Glad Game!”

  1. Krysten Traylor says :Reply

    I love the Pollyanna book and movie!

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).