Friday, May 1, 2009

Contrasts and Similarities

Monday was a day of contrasts and similarities. In the morning we watched an energizing and moving (both physically and emotionally) video of Stand by Me, by playingforchange. I'd seen the video before, and it struck me then as so worthwhile that I had to immediately share it with my kids. And since we're traveling to New Orleans this summer, I thought it particularly appropriate.

So that morning T was trying to decide what song he wanted to learn on his guitar, and I reminded him of Stand by Me. We watched it again and danced together, grinning and singing. One by one, the other kids drifted in, captured by the music, remembering what they'd seen before. "Yes," T said quietly when it was over, "that's the song I want to learn."

We were struck by the commonalities of people all over the world. How the facial expressions, body movements, and smiles are all identical and all unique - and how they are all examples of what we share. We left the room feeling connected, light hearted, each going our separate ways for a while.

Fast forward to the afternoon. We often watch videos together, virtually all educational in some sense. Sometimes it's a science show, sometimes a history documentary, occasionally something "fluffy" but still worthwhile, like a travel documentary.

For years now I've been meaning to watch An Inconvenient Truth but have never gotten around to doing it. I'd even bought the book but had never gotten around to reading it. I finally received the DVD from Netflix, and sat down with the kids to watch and discuss. It was long overdue. 

In the opening scenes, for whatever reason, I immediately flashed to "Stand by Me," with  Grandpa Elliott and Washboard Chaz singing in New Orleans. It was the images of Gore flying over flooded, devastated post-Katrina New Orleans juxtaposed with the passionate faces of the singers in Jackson Square. Similar, yet strikingly different.

I don't know why these two videos became connected in my mind. I guess it's the way the world has shrunk, how the people I meet from across the world are strikingly similar to me instead of strikingly different ... how music crosses every barrier.

How what we do on this side of the marble affects all those on the other.

I want to think that I'm helping to create the first generation of true global citizens - kids who grow up knowing nothing other than intricate world connectedness. The earth will be better for it.

They have a lot to teach me.

(The Playing for Change Foundation is building music and art schools in poor countries around the world to bring peace and unite humanity. Listen to the samples of the cool stuff on their CD Songs Around The World.) 


  1. I am curious if you all watched the movie COntact. Arnav was asking those exact questions (God versus science) 2 years ago, so we watched it.

  2. Camille,

    I would love to hear more of your thoughts on raising global citizens.

  3. or, guiding them might be a better way to put it.