February 14, 2001
“I would like to welcome you to Carnegie Hall, the world’s most famous concert hall to hear an entirely different kind of music…a loftier melody. It’s a more eternal song.
There are two kinds of music. One comes from the strings of a guitar, the other from the strings of the heart. One sound comes from a chamber orchestra, the other from the beating of the heart’s chamber. One comes from an instrument of graphite and wood, the other from an organ of flesh and blood.
This loftier music I speak of tonight is more pleasing than the notes of the most gifted composers, more moving than a marching band, more harmonious than a thousand voices joined in hymn and more powerful than the world’s percussion instruments combined…sweet with the sound of love.
Just a generation ago, it was this sound that could be heard in every town. It was the sound of love that echoed in the living room when a father giggled with his son or a mother tickled a small infant child. It was the sound of love that echoed from children’s literacy classes as the parents read their children tales before they went to bed. And it was the sound of love that reverberated in their dinner conversations between parents and children, not just once a year, but discovered every day.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBOpgsO04E8
Sadly, that sound has become a lost melody, a forgotten refrain, an empty tune and all we have in its place today is a dark and terrible noise. Instead of dinner conversations, there is the noise of video games. Instead of homework there is the din of the evening news. And, instead of regular conversations between parents and children about the webs of violence…there is the sound , the deafening sounds of silence.
Who among us would have believed that the sound of children at their playgrounds would be replaced with the sound of automatic machine gun fire. That the sound of little girls skipping rope would be overshadowed by the frantic squeals of children dodging bullets. Yet, instead of loving our children more, we’ve installed metal detectors in our schools.
Are we blind to the fact that our children are raging against the indifference, crying out against the abandonment of thundering neglect? Heal the Kids is about doing something, about making a difference and trying to help adults and parents realize that it’s in our power to change the world that our children live in.
As a wise man once said, ‘If not us, then who…if not now, then when?’
My friends, with 2 children of my own, I know what it means to have to balance the demands of family and career…let’s not even talk about finding a date for myself, even though Rabbi Shmuley keeps telling me he’s going to find me the perfect woman. My response is: ‘as long as it’s not a journalist!’
But, learning how to strike this very necessary balance is what this special evening is all about. In 3 weeks’ time, at Oxford University, I will be delivering an address with strong implications for dealing with the parent/child relationship and giving an address that is certain to surprise you. Until then, I want to thank you all for coming out…showing your love. And I want to offer a couple of special thank yous …we have 100 New York City teachers with us…and I want to thank Steven Shaunfeld…he is wonderful. Everything he does for Heal the Kids is incredible. Together, we can make a change for the better…together we can heal the world and make it a better place. God bless you all. I love you all.”
“HEAL THE WORLD IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS OF ANYTHING I HAVE EVER RECORDED,” said Michael in 1996, “BECAUSE IT IS A PUBLIC AWARENESS SONG. IT IS SOMETHING THAT I THINK WILL LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE FOR A LONG TIME, BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT SOMETHING THAT IS VERY SPECIAL AND VERY INNOCENT AND VERY IMPORTANT.”
PAYING MICHAEL FORWARD is something I feel strongly about with all my heart. Learning from him through his message…his words, his lyrics, his speeches, his interviews…how he chose to live his life. Listening…REALLY listening. The more we practice that, the greater our understanding. It is my privilege each day to try to gather together all the gifts of knowledge I have discovered and then to share them with you. I truly believe education is part of the weapon of love that will erase evil.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf18fM39dsA