The day John Lennon died. There’s nothing to say about that that hasn’t been said.
And “nothing you can say that can’t be sung.” I’ve been learning to play this on the piano.
So much power in one word. Imagine.
“You may say I’m a dreamer,” said John. Maybe even a Pollyanna.
Why a Pollyanna? Lennon believed that despite all the conflict in the world, peace was possible. A noble sentiment. Pollyannaish in the best sense of the word. (yes, it’s a word… see below.)
The Pollyanna novels focus on a young girl’s philosophy of life. Essentially Pollyanna finds something to be glad about in any situation, playing what she calls, “The Glad Game“.
Wikipedia says: The novel’s success brought the term “Pollyanna” (along with the adjective “pollyannaish” and the noun “Pollyannaism“) into the language to describe someone who seems always to be able to find something to be “glad” about no matter what circumstances arise. It is sometimes used pejoratively, referring to someone whose optimism is excessive to the point of naïveté or refusing to accept the facts of an unfortunate situation.
Someone I know recently dismissed conflict resolution work as “just pollyanna”. I’m guessing it wasn’t intended in the positive sense. And it bothers me.
I’ve spent the better part of ten years facilitating conflict resolution courses for members of my union. I designed them. I’ve seen their impact. I believe in them. I’m now working with other labour educators who recognize their power.
I freely admit that from time to time, I take what some might see as a Pollyanna approach to problems. I believe in trying to find the positive. In seeking possibilities. In asking, “What if?”
That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes get caught up in negativity. But I believe that if we make an effort, we can work together to resolve our problems. If we pay attention to our relationships with each other, we have a better chance to avoid scorched earth. “It’s easy,” wrote Lennon in another song, “if you learn how to play the game.” The Glad Game perhaps. We get to make choices. If that’s Pollyanna, I’m okay with it.
Just Pollyanna. Imagine.