It's Sunday morning, but apparently, no one has told my kids that. They are in full-on Friday night mode, running laps around the kitchen island with action figures and makeshift weapons clutched in sticky fists.
Why are their fists sticky? A fine dribble of maple syrup has slowly made its way down one of the table legs, and it's now blotched with handprints and littered with dryer lint.
Their siren squeals reach a decibel achieved previously only by prehistoric predators, and in the background, a horrible children's song plays on repeat. Something about a pancake. I feel like I am living the opening scene of a pathetic housewife sitcom. The last thing I need is any more noise added to the mix.
But when I turn off the kids' music and switch on my Bluetooth speaker, the initial shrieks of excitement soon fade.
“It's our songs! It's our songs!" my five-year-old cheers as he nudges his little brother. Both begin to bounce lightly to the rhythm, and soon their tiny hips are twisting to a lively beat, arms waving, mouths gloriously shut.
I breathe a long sigh of relief. My go-to answer to the morning discord has come through for me once again.
Music has long been my salve for any soulful chaos, and I'm not alone in thinking so. In fact, music has been proven to lower blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, and slow the pulse and heart rate.
One study revealed that participants who listened to music had significantly faster recovery periods after exposure to stressors. Other studies have linked music to reduced pain and stress during medical procedures and hospitalizations.
It's hard to avoid the stress in our lives. The world around us is in turmoil. My kitchen on that Sunday morning is just a microcosm of the bigger world outside our walls. It sometimes feels like it's spinning in circles, a tornado around my kitchen island. Lately, I've needed music more than ever.
So we created a family playlist. It's light and soulful, and it helps us to shift from the pandemonium of our everyday lives to a calmer, happier rhythm. It isn't kids' music, but it's kid-friendly. It isn't dance music, but it certainly gets us grooving. It isn't rock or hip-hop or country or alternative. It's just good.
These are songs we can all enjoy that carry messages of spreading love, sharing peace, and being hopeful about the future. It's become a trigger for us all to stop whatever we're doing, let the music fill our hearts, and dance. Couldn't we all use a little more dancing?
Check out our Family Playlist for Peace. Stream it on Spotify, or create your own family playlist for a little slice of calm in an otherwise chaotic world.
“Get Together" – The Youngbloods
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
“Best Day of My Life" – American Authors
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
I'm never gonna look back
Never gonna give it up
No, please don't wake me now
This is gonna be the best day of my life
“If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" – Cat Stevens
Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
“Home" – Phillip Phillips
Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble, it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm going to make this place your home
“Put a Little Love in Your Heart" – Jackie DeShannon
(We like the version by Renee and Jeremy best.)
If you want the world to know
We won't let hatred grow
Put a little love in your heart
And the world
And the world
Will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see
“Three Little Birds" – Bob Marley
Rise up this mornin',
Smile with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin': This is my message to you.
Singin': Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right
“I Can See Clearly Now" – Johnny Nash
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been prayin' for
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
“One Day" – Matisyahu
All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There'll be no more wars
And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day)
“Shiny Happy People" – R.E.M.
Everyone around love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it take it
There's no time to cry
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine
“Wildflowers" – Tom Petty
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free
“Here Comes the Sun" – The Beatles
Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
“Roar" – Katy Perry
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready 'cause I've had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
“Sunshine on My Shoulders" – John Denver
If I had a day that I could give you
I'd give to you the day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I'd sing a song to make you feel this way
“Imagine" – John Lennon
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one