Yesterday, Noah and I were sitting in an office that was playing retro music instrumentals. At one point Noah said, Mom, you know this song? I quickly explained that when I was about his age, this was the biggest hit song there ever had been. Thanks to modern technology, it took about thirty seconds to grab my phone and pull up the video on YouTube.
Surprisingly, it was a pretty emotional moment for me.
I was a bright-eyed eight-year-old in Oklahoma when this song came out in 1984. A second grader, who previously knew nothing about the famine in Africa. But I will never forget singing these lyrics at the top of my lungs, arms locked together with kids across our school. It’s such a powerful memory, even now.
It was likely my first memory of the enormous impact of a few people deciding to join together to make the world a better place.
I didn’t know it then, but the proceeds from this song raised over $60 Million that was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan and other impoverished countries. For a moment in time, it seems as though we really realized we were the world.
We’ve made incredible progress since 1984.
We’ve created social enterprises and non-profit organizations to raise awareness, address social issues and break the cycle of poverty all around the world. It’s been amazing to get to grow up watching such profound changes for social good.
At the same time, I wonder what would happen if each of us woke up each morning with these lyrics in our heads.
What if we walked into the grocery store, our schools, our churches, or the mall with the idea that we belong to each other?
What if we stopped looking away, pretending someone else would make a change?
I wonder what would happen if we chose to look deep enough, long enough to see the people who are emotionally dying right here in front of us and remembered that change can only come when we stand together as one?
We really are the world. . .
You are the world.
And Love is still the greatest gift of all.
Let’s start giving.
There comes a time when we hear a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all
We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
Its true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me
Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand
When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Let us realize that a change can only come
When we stand together as one
to more love today,
RICHIE, LIONEL / JACKSON, MICHAEL
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.