Crosby Stills Nash & Young: Teach Your Children Meaning
Song Released: 1970
Teach Your Children Lyrics
Must have a code that you can live
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a
Teach your children well,
father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your
The one they...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Apr 16th 2016 report
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.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jul 30th 2009 report
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.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Dec 14th 2006 report
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.
anonymous Apr 18th report
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.
anonymous Sep 20th 2020 report
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.
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.
anonymous Jan 15th 2018 report
"Their father's hell" line : Wondering if this refers to WWll and/or the painful
great depression times their parents struggled through.
anonymous Oct 23rd 2014 report
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.
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