The lyrics for “Beautiful Soul” are here.
In the house where I grew up, we had a copy of the painting “Temily Means Peace” by Western Australian artist Chelinay Gates (shown below) hanging on our living room wall. This picture was a strong image in my mind throughout my childhood, symbolising harmony and unity in diversity. My parents taught me that it didn’t matter what your racial or religious background was, we were all members of one human family. I learnt these beautiful and powerful words: “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” (Bahá’u’lláh)
As I grew up, though, I realised that not everyone was being showered with these same ideals of harmony and unity as I was. In a society where prejudice is such a stealthy but pervasive reality, I found it difficult for myself personally to remain aloof of all the muck and not to succumb to the same preconceived assumptions, indifference and apathy that plagued so many others.
When I was in high school, I learnt of the song “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” by Rogers and Hammerstein. The lyrics spoke to the core of my being, and include phrases such as “you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear”, “you’ve got to be taught to be afraid/ of people whose eyes are oddly made/ and people whose skin is a diff’rent shade”, and “you’ve got to be taught before it’s too late/ before you are six or seven or eight/ to hate all the people your relatives hate/ you’ve got to be carefully taught!”
So, as you can see, I’ve been needing to write this song for a long time now! Children have pure, beautiful souls with a humongous capacity to love. We need to need our children to love, not to hate, or we will never heal this battered and broken world.