At this time of the year, many parents gather together to listen to their children perform in school holiday shows. If you have multiple children like I do, that means you may have spent a good part of your week going from show to show, hearing a wide range of holiday songs. With two kids in school for several years, I thought I'd already heard them all. That was until today when my older son and his classmates took the stage to sing a unique selection of songs you'd likely never find on a holiday album.
To kick off their show, my older son and his classmates sang True Colors, originally released by Cindi Lauper in 1986. Of course, they chose to do the more updated version from the Glee Cast. I hadn't heard either version of the song in years, and I was thrilled to hear it again - sung by nearly 40 young children from different countries and backgrounds and with completely unique personalities.
Hearing the song again as an adult, I was struck by many of the song lyrics. Like these:
I can see your true colors and that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful like a rainbow
At an age when you want your kids to embrace and be accepted for who they are deep down inside - and do the same with others, it was a comfort to hear a diverse group of children singing in one voice about seeing someone's true colors and loving them for it. I couldn't help but look from face to face to face and appreciate each one of them a little bit more.
But, my surprise - and joy - didn't end there.
Just two songs later, parents were treated to another unexpected tune - the theme song to Diff'rent Strokes,the popular television show that aired from 1978 to 1986. As you may recall, the sitcom focuses on the life of a family that includes a caucasian dad and his daughter along with two adopted African-American sons (plus a wise-cracking housekeeper).
The theme song speaks to how it takes "different strokes to move the world" and includes inclusive lyrics like:
Everybody's got a special kind of story
Everybody finds a way to shine,
It don't matter that you got not a lot
They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine.
And together we'll be fine....
I couldn't help smiling when looking out at this group of young children keeping the beat to a song about these different people coming together as a family. It was appropriate back in the late 70s and 80s and it still strikes a relevant chord today.
For me, the holiday season is about sharing a feeling of communal happiness with others - no matter what holiday they celebrate and how they choose to celebrate it (if they choose to do so at all). That's why I was so moved by True Colors and the Diff'rent Strokes theme song after all this time.
I am so appreciative of my older son's teachers for introducing a group of young, impressionable individuals to these new songs. As I saw and heard today, these children truly are beautiful like a rainbow and have the opportunity to move the world - like anyone of us can do when we come together as individuals in beautiful harmony.
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