American DreamWe all dream. We have day dreams and night dreams. Our dreams may change with time.

We have collective group dreams such as the American dream. This too has changed with time.

With a new year, a presidential inauguration, and Martin Luther King Jr Day, the American dream seems an appropriate topic for senior living communities.

Many residents are part of “The Greatest Generation”. They witnessed the end of WWII and the expansive changes that followed. Many of them strove for the American dream – a successful life in a comfortable home surrounded by a couple of kids.  These are dreams of the past.

A president often shares dreams for the nation during an inaugural address and the State of the Union address. They hope to shape the legislative direction for the year and their term. These are dreams for the present (and future).

Martin Luther King, Jr’.’s “I Have a Dream” is ranked by many as a top speech of 20th century. Depending on your views it can be viewed as a past or present dream.

In preparation for upcoming music therapy sessions, I have been exploring music to elicit memories and conversation on these and other dreams. Musicians and non-musicians will find things to share in the following materials.

Sources for some American Dream information

The American Dream Exhibit site is divided by decades and provides poems, a few images and summaries for conversation. It brought these song ideas:

  • Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor
  • Happy Days Theme Song

The Mix: The Sound of Your American Dream has a long list of songs. From it, these seemed appropriate:

  • Billie Holiday, “God Bless the Child” (What are the dreams in this song?)
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “Our House” (What dreams are listed in this song? Which of them were your dreams?)
  • Don McLean, “American Pie” (Fun to sing chorus especially if you have Boomers in the crowd)
  • Glenn Miller & His Orchestra, “American Patrol” (For movement or conversation on military experiences)
  • Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow” (Did you ever dream about what was over the rainbow? What did you picture)
  • Kermit the Frog, “Rainbow Connection” (Boomers will likely remember this one. What connections listed in the song have you had in your life?)
  • Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” (This song is an opportunity to talk about the present. In what ways does this song relate to MLK’s “I Have a Dream”? )
  • Patsy Cline, “Crazy” (What were your crazy dreams?)
  • Roger Miller, “King of the Road” (Did you ever dream of the life of a hobo? Why or why not?)
  • Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land” (Be sure and sing more than two verses of this one. Discuss what Woody was commenting about.)

From my lists of songs with dream in the lyrics

Here are some songs people might enjoy singing:

  • “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
  • “I’ll See You in My Dreams”
  • “Good Night, My Someone”~ from The Music Man 
  • “When You Wish Upon a Star”
  • “Memories”
  • “Impossible Dream”

How would you share the American Dream in a senior living community?

%d bloggers like this: