Sunday, October 16, 2016

Change the World: Songs for Reflection and Discussion



stcokimages for FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Here's the latest in the popular series of song playlists for teachers, parents, or anyone who likes music with positive or thought-provoking lyrics.  This time the focus is on diversity, unity, love for humanity, and making a difference.  Scroll to the bottom of the page for questions you can use in teaching or for self-reflection, as well as links to more posts on compassion and service.

I've tried to include something for everyone, and I've tried not to include any offensive content... but some of the lyrics and images may not be appropriate for children or for more conservative contexts.  Be sure to preview the full lyrics and video before deciding whether a particular song is appropriate to share with your family or class.



Change the World, Colby and Awu
"Time to rid the world of prejudice, and start a revolution.  I’m talking no more hunger, and no more pain.  No more violence, and no more slaves.  No more hatred, and no more greed... No more discrimination, kids need an education, gotta give hope to the up and coming generation...  We can change the world."

Earth SongHarry Belafonte (on the Muppet Show)
youtube video (not great sound quality, but it’s the only video I could find of the full version including Harry Belafonte's intro and Waldorf and Statler joining in during the closing credits); alternate video with better sound quality but no intro or ending

Free Your Mind, En Vogue
lyrics; video of live performance ft. Kelly Clarkson
"Why oh why must it be this way?  Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me.  Free your mind and the rest will follow.  Be color blind, don't be so shallow."

Keep Changing the World, Mikeschair
lyricsofficial video (footage of their mission trip to Peru)
"There's so much suffering just outside our door.  A cry so deafening we just can't ignore.   To all the people who are fighting for the broken.  All the people who keep holding on to love.  All the people who are reaching for the lonely.  Keep changing the world."


Keep Loving: A Universal Love Song, Nimo (Empty Hands Music)
"Whether you got a family or single parentin’- Or you're Asian, African, European or American.  Whether you pray-to-God or atheist is irrelevant.  'Cuz what you got inside is the same as all your brethren.  So keep loving.  It’ll change your heart, it’ll change your mind.  And then you’ll start to change your eyes.  Everything you touch, everyone you see will soon become your family." 

One Tribe
, The Black-Eyed Peas
"It's all one blood, don't care about your face, the color of your eye or the tone of your skin... I don't need no leader that's gonna... make me think I need to fear my brother and fear my sister, and shoot my neighbor or my big missile...Let's catch amnesia. Forget about all that evil... One tribe, ya'll."


Paradigm, Colby and Awu
"Take a little time, open up your mind, and see that humankind’s destiny is intertwined. Take a little time, open up your mind, and see the other side, from a new paradigm."

Peace Train, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam)
lyrics; video of live performance of original version (1976); video of live performance by Yusuf Islam (2006)
"Oh, I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one.  And I believe it could be.  Some day it's going to come.  'Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train.  Oh, peace train take this country.  Come take me home again."

Stay Human (All the Freaky People), Michael Franti and Spearhead
lyricsvideo (audio with album cover)
"I'm givin' thanks for bein' human every morning.  Because the streets are alive with the sound of Boom Bap.  Can I hear it once again?  Tell your neighbor.  Tell a friend.  Every box gotta right to be boomin'.  Every flower got a right to be bloomin'.  Be resistant.  The negativity, we keep it at a distance.  Call for backup and I'll give you some assistance."

This is My Wish/Let There Be Peace; Voctave
lyrics to This is My Wish; lyrics to Let There Be Peace on Earth; video of a capella recording
"This is the time for harmony... Fill the air with joyful noise.  Ring the bells and raise your voice... Let there be peace on earth."

To My People: A Love Song to Humanity, Nimo (featuring Famus and Nick Dalton)
"Every single one of you, through being you, you do, find a way to spread love through Truth, through me and you.  And it's because of you, I grew... Because of you, I made it through ... You’re a blessing to us all, so keep just being you... You're everybody, every being, every life, every moment, everything."

Waiting on the World to Change, John Mayer
lyrics; official video

"Me and all my friends, we're all misunderstood.  They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could. Now, we see everything that's going wrong with the world and those who lead it.  We just feel like we don't have the means to rise above and beat it.  So we keep waiting on the world to change."


We're All in This Together, Ben Lee
"Woke up this morning.  I suddenly realized, we're all in this together. I started smiling 'cos you were smiling, and were all in this together.  I'm made of atoms.  You're made of atoms.  And we're all in this together."

With My Own Two Hands, Ben Harper
lyrics; official video
"I can change the world, with my own two hands. Make a better place, with my own two hands.  Make a kinder place, with my own two hands."


Questions for Reflection and Discussion
  • Do people tend to make false assumptions about you based on your background or appearance?
  • What are some ways people from different backgrounds can work together in harmony?
  • What are some ways people you know are making a difference in the world, or in your community?
  • Are there ways you are (or could be) making a difference with your own two hands?
  • How does helping your community help the world?
  • How does helping the world help your community?
  • How can we encourage others to stop waiting for the world to change and get involved in changing it?

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