What does Teach Your Children mean?

Crosby Stills Nash & Young: Teach Your Children Meaning

Album cover for Teach Your Children album cover

Song Released: 1970

Teach Your Children Lyrics

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a
good bye.

Teach your children well,
father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your
The one they...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Apr 16th 2016 !⃝

    The lyrics asks parents and children not to be judgmental of each other's lives. The "road" is life's journey which we must all go through during which we seek the truth of our existence which may never be found. That doesn't matter despite our struggles. What does matter is the joy of living and loving and letting both parent and child be who they are without trying to fix what is not broken. The lyrics are a Buddhist prescription for not being bound in suffering by not accepting the reality of existence and accepting people as they are and not what you would like them to be and having gratitude for the experience of being.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 30th 2009 !⃝

    This song is a call for parents and children to try to understand that each generation goes through it's own kind of "hell" (growing pains/life issues) and that each should respect that and learn from each other. The genius of this song is in the first verse, "and so become yourself, because the past is just a good bye". You can't become your parents because their life was different from yours and once the past is gone it's gone for good. So, be true to yourself and "become yourself". I didn't even notice that verse until this year when I was examining my own past.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Dec 14th 2006 !⃝

    This song is a look at intergenerational issues in the whole 60s/70s time period.

    It says "teach your children well" because its telling parents to teach their children how they deal with life and the lessons they've learned from their own experiences ("their father's hell").

    It says that sometimes intergenerational dialogue isn't easy: "Don't you ever ask them why/ if they told you you would cry/ so just look at them and sigh/ and know they love you..."
    This is basically an appeal to both sides of the "generation gap" (the parents and children) to remember that even if they don't understand the other group's logic, reasoning, or motivation, just remember that they still love you deep down and try to just get along.

    and it's a beautiful song.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 13th 2023 !⃝

    My mother and father are very dear to me, though they are my sperm samples. In "Your Will is my will, and "If I find harm, I will flee," I will do the best I can for them both.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 4th 2022 !⃝

    I totally agree with top rated number one, two and three. They really said well the real heart of the song. But as I’ve gone back now and listened again and at that point in my life that I am the elder not as a parent but a grandparent. My interpretation of the song went from helping me to teach my own children. They went through a lot of their own fathers hell as I did. Now much later in my life, I realized it has a new meaning to me overall and expands beyond your children. I actually sent this to my children tonight because they will teach their children well, my precious grandchildren. And the other thing that came to me is it’s really about overall…. Always assume positive intention of others Beyond your children and grandchildren, family and friends. It’s about everyone you meet, all the stresses that come into your life every day, and not reacting but responding in the way that is assuming the other person is equally coming from a place of a positive intention. because when you do it is very important in Uniting all of us together.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 18th 2021 !⃝

    My father had once said...

    When you become in the age of reason...you will find out that, I, your father, and your mother had good and bad.

    In fact, all the people that you will see throughout your life...will also carry this with them.

    It is for you to dismiss the bad that others gave and cherish the good....if it wasn't this way... life would have no meaning in trying to correct yourself.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 20th 2020 !⃝

    The song by nature is anti-authority. You choose implies that you have the highest authority. That’s not all bad since it can safeguard you against evil authority, of which our time is rife.
    The song is encouraging and optimistic, but implies that we apart from Benevolent Authority can choose the code to live by.

  8. PastPresent
    click a star to vote
    Mar 15th 2019 !⃝

    To me, this song is aimed at parents to teach their children about how to live a good life and co-exist with others. But in doing so, they are also asked to instill into their children ways to change their reality, to improve their children's future, and the world reality, with healthy values. But after that, the children should pursue larger and stronger goals on their own--to be their own person, obtain even higher goals than previous generations and let the past go where it must. Through understanding of past generations' experience, they come to understand their own origin by not letting it affect their growth as adults. And as they go off on their own parents will know they have done as much as they could, but will understand that in spite of what molded their children there will always be love to bind the past with the present even though the past generation must pass on to non-existence.

  9. robertstolar
    click a star to vote
    Jul 3rd 2018 !⃝

    We all want to change the world for the better. But we “fooled around and fell in love” resulting in babies, rent and washing machines. This subsistence lifestyle of the here-and-now and retirement savings left no time for radicalism to change our war economy to a peace economy. Just like our parents dilemma. Our parents now are senile, in ill health or dead or say “you can’t fight city hall”. Your 40 yr. old children are trying to pay rent and mortgages and kids and retirement. No one is left to change the world for the better except you. Your strength is you can sacrifice yourself for your grandchildrens’ future: an automated robotic future or a life of work and meaning. It is now your time to choose the future.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 15th 2018 !⃝

    "Their father's hell" line : Wondering if this refers to WWll and/or the painful
    great depression times their parents struggled through.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 18th 2017 !⃝

    It’s a leftist hippy feel good song about bringing up your kids in a lezzez-faire way where nothing really matters as long as it feels good, just let them get wasted and have sex if they want, whenever they want. This song was adopted by the lefty wimp Walter Mondale campaign, which I’m surprised didn’t travel in a chartreuse VW van with peace signs on it.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 23rd 2014 !⃝

    I have always loved this song (even though it's hard to put your own twist on their words) which is where their genius lies. Its about our journey, all of us, the one we each take and the degree to which we can stop putting labels and judging things as right or wrong, good or bad, that is the degree to which we can progress through our life to a point that is resolved simply into love and compassion. the labels change from generation to generation, the struggles and the feelings remain the same. we're all in it together and once we can reduce our judgements and differences to love and compassion we've made a successful trip and that's all any of us can hope for. Our souls expand with joy and light and we leave this passage in better shape than we arrived.

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 27th 2012 !⃝

    . Your favourite juotificatisn appeared to be at the web the easiest thing to take note of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while other folks consider concerns that they plainly don't recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the entire thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

More Crosby Stills Nash & Young songs »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Horizons anonymous
Coconut anonymous
Demon Of The Fall anonymous
Rebel Yell anonymous
Softcore anonymous
The Chains Are On anonymous
Bounce anonymous
Lake of Fire anonymous
Evil Woman anonymous
Hello Kitty anonymous
The Mighty Quinn anonymous
Hermit the Frog Hjkxx100
Hole in the Bottom of my Brain anonymous
Pretender (Acoustic) anonymous
Disintegration anonymous

(We won't give out your email)