You know a movie is going to be good when it opens with a bare bum swinging on a rope.
This was Hayley Mills’ first film for Disney (she did several others, most famously The Parent Trap). I ‘d be lying if I said this was my favorite film, but it’s definitely worth watching every 20 years or so. Maybe 25.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Pollyanna really can solve all your life’s problems. For instance, if you’re ever wondering where to find a straightjacket decorated like an American flag, Pollyanna has one you can borrow.
So there’s this part in the movie where Pollyanna utters a quote from Abraham Lincoln to a discouraged reverend that changes his life:
“When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.”
At this point I must tell you that Pollyanna sits on a throne of lies. That’s right — Abraham Lincoln never actually said that. For whatever reason, the film’s writer just made it up and decided to attribute it to Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln did, however, say the following (though some still dispute the source):
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Yes, happiness is a choice. You don’t have to put ribbons in your hair and go around playing Pollyanna’s “glad game” (in fact, I think most of us would prefer you don’t do that), but it is vital that all of us understand that as human beings we are free to act and not be acted upon, and it is we who ultimately possess the power to choose our responses to our circumstances.
Dieter Uchtdorf put it best:
“So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.
“The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.
“We do matter. We determine our happiness.”
Thus, truly happy people are not those who are naïve to the sadness happening around them, but those who make the choice to be happy in spite of what is happening around them, focusing instead on the small tender mercies of God that are abundantly present in even the most difficult circumstances.
Be someone who helps others see the good in life. Because life is good.
“You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.
“Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” – Doctrine & Covenants 123:16-17