Soulfulness to Inspire Us

A friend sent me this inspiring video, called Landfill Harmonics, and I’d like to share it with you. It’s about teenagers in Paraguay discovering the gift of music through instruments made from trash:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6rgkCUstaE

I am moved by the mother who says of her son, “He plays the flute with his soul” and by the son who wants to “pay back” his parents for supporting him. I am humbled by the young woman who stresses music’s connection to “the meaning of life,” and expresses heartfelt gratitude that she can be a part of it. I am impressed with the music teacher’s philosophy: “We haven’t given them fish …but taught them how to fish.” No entitled, jaded, fake, media-induced personalities here.

Does our cynical mindset allow for the kindness, genuineness and gratitude that are evident in this video? Do our hyperactive schedules leave room for the soulfulness that is exhibited here? Following are some of my thoughts on the subject from Chapter Four of my book, Ships Without a Shore: America’s Undernurtured Children:

Today’s educational approach neglects the state of a child’s soul on two levels. First, rather than giving the child a set of truths to believe in and standards to live up to, it arms the child with cynicism and ‘openness.’ … Second, rather than nurture the child’s natural curiousity and desire to play, it imposes upon young children so hectic and goal oriented an existence as to leave no room for daydreaming and exploration.

For much needed relaxation, children and teenagers collapse in front of the TV, computer or play station, the now defining features of ‘homelife.’ … They stare at the screen wherein the inanity, violence, and doomsday sociopolitical messages are anything but reassuring. From doing to staring, from staring to doing. There is little room in this scenario for idle contentment, playful creativity and the passionate pursuit of interests.

Children today face this irony: They are taught to believe in nothing higher than the self … and yet they are given no time for self-discovery. They are so laden with activities and spend so much time in institutions or in the company of electronic counterparts that they are left with an emptiness if they are left alone. Is it possible that we are bringing up a generation of empty souls–too busy to think deeply about anything, too skeptical to believe deeply in anything, too scarred by unmet needs for nurturing to love with a full heart?

In the spirit of the season, here’s to heart and soul.

  1. Percival

    That was excellent.  That little girl playing Tchaikovsky really had me.

    Filling out the woodwinds is going to be a challenge, and the brass section is going to be especially tough.  They’ll do it though.

  2. drlorentz

    Beautiful, wonderful. Thank you. I’m sending a link to friends.

    This is recycling I can get behind.

  3. Peter Van Schoick

    This is lovely.

  4. Anne R. Pierce
    Percival: That was excellent.  That little girl playing Tchaikovsky really had me.

    Filling out the woodwinds is going to be a challenge, and the brass section is going to be especially tough.  They’ll do it though. · 1 hour ago

    Yes, they surely will!

  5. raycon and lindacon

    I lived in Paraguay for half of 1963.  This video had me on the verge of tears throughout.  I loved the country and especially it’s people.  They are of mostly Spanish heritage, mixed with the Guarani.  Music is so in their blood that I can barely remember a place either in the city or in the chaco (the countryside) where music wasn’t surrounding me.

    The boy playing Gabriell’s Oboe on the trash made saxophone,, from the movie Mission, was almost more than I could handle.  That movie, which tells of the exploitation of the Guarani people, caught in a power struggle between the church and the Portuguese government can break your heart, especially if you have lived among the Guarani.  They were a warrior tribal people who could be ruthless against their enemies.  They also make the most beautiful musical instruments and with them the most beautiful music.

    This video resonates with everything Anne R. Pierce has said above.  What memories.  Maybe some day I can go back.  It appears unchanged from when I lived there.

    Thank you.

  6. Anne R. Pierce
    raycon and lindacon: I lived in Paraguay for half of 1963.  …

    The boy playing Gabriell’s Oboe on the trash made saxophone,, from the movie Mission, was almost more than I could handle.  That movie, which tells of the exploitation of the Guarani people, caught in a power struggle between the church and the Portuguese government can break your heart, especially if you have lived among the Guarani.  They were a warrior tribal people who could be ruthless against their enemies.  They also make the most beautiful musical instruments and with them the most beautiful music.

    This video resonates with everything Anne R. Pierce has said above.  What memories.  Maybe some day I can go back.  It appears unchanged from when I lived there.

    Thank you. · 1 minute ago

    Thank you for adding this poignant story to my post; I’ll look for the movie, Mission.

  7. FirstAmendment

    Wow, a wonderful, incredibly moving video. I hope this gets widely viewed and distributed.

  8. Lucy Pevensie

    I’m sending the link to a friend who works with people who live on (and make their living from) a trash dump in Viet Nam.  Maybe this idea can be spread to other places. Thank you.

  9. hobbithill

    Fascinating, mesmerizing and absolutely beautiful

  10. drlorentz

    Coincidentally, I heard a reference to this video on our local classical music station, KUSC. Apparently, it has, as they say, gone viral.

  11. Chris P.

    Esto es hermoso.  Very inspiring, thanks for posting!

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