Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

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Teach Your Children

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Graham Nash wrote this song and it was written when Nash was a member of the Hollies, it was never recorded by that group in studio (although a live recording does exist).  The song appeared on the album Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young which was released in 1970, and it was also released as a single, which peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  The lyrics deal with the often difficult relationship that Nash had with his father, who spent time in prison. Nash, who is also a photographer and collector of photographs, has stated in an interview that the immediate inspiration for the song came from a famous photograph by Diane Arbus, Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.  The image shows a child with an angry expression holding the toy weapon, and this prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of messages given to children about war and other issues.

Neil Young just joined the group, but he is not on this song.  David Crosby sings harmony vocals. Stephen Stills does lead vocals in the 1st verse, harmony vocals, guitars, bass.  Graham Nash does the lead vocals in the 2nd verse, harmony vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion.  Dallas Taylor plays drums, tambourine, percussion.  Jerry Garcia performs the pedal steel guitar part of this track.  He had been playing steel guitar for only a short period of time.  Garcia taught himself how to play the instrument during his tenure with the New Riders of the Purple Sage.  Garcia played on this album in exchange for harmony lessons for the Grateful Dead, who were at the time recording their acoustic albums Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty.

This song seems to carry a duel message, as first it asks parents to take care of their children, and then it tells children to look after their aging parents.  The law requires people to obtain a driver’s license in order to drive a car, but anyone can have children, which seems sort of crazy to me.  Some parents are not very good at teaching their children, because even though they may be physically old enough to have kids,  mentally they might still be children themselves.  All parents need to learn how to teach their children and they should always be learning from their children.

In the movie Caddy Shack, Rodney Dangerfield says, “Now I know why tigers eat their young”, and actually mother bears, felines, canids, primates, and many species of rodents have all been seen killing and eating their young.  This is usually done when the mother can’t nurse her cubs or find food for them and they will eat the ones who are week and or have physical problems.

You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a goodbye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
and feed them on your dreams, the one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
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.

And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
and so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
and feed them on your dreams, the one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
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.

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.).  Alternatively, if you are a musician, and you have played this song solo or in a group, it would be awesome if you could post a video to showcase your own work.  You could write about how you learned to play the chords or how you learned the lyrics.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if there is another Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song that you like to write about, that will be fine, so basically this writing challenge is wide open.

Every day when I watch the news, I see devastation, destruction and violence, especially with the record floods, tornadoes and mass shootings that are taking place and I wonder if parents need to shield their children from this.  How do people raise children with all this stuff going on?  What is the most important thing for parents to learn, so they can raise kids?  Did you learn any valuable lessons from your parents?  Is it OK to give a baby a cell phone to pacify them or to turn on the movie player in the minivan when the family goes out for a drive?  Has modern technology destroyed the family?  Was it easier raising a family in the past?  Are parents in this day and age spending too much time with their friends and not enough quality time being with their family?  Have parents abandoned their role as guides for their children and are they allowing popular culture to influence their children’s personalities?

You could write about the proverb, “Spare the rod and spoil the child” which means that if children are not physically punished when they do wrong, that their personal development will suffer because of this.  If you plant bad seeds, you are going to get weeds. If you plant good seeds, you’ll grow a good crop.  What skills do you need to be a parent?  Does this involve more than just hugs, kisses and saying, “I love you”?  Did your parents make you clean up messes that you made, pick up your toys after you were done playing with them and did you have to do chores around the house like making your bed, clearing the table, washing dishes, or mowing the grass?  Were you punished for making mistakes?  How should you handle a situation where you catch your child lying to you?  Are the best lessons in life are caught, not taught, by a child’s parents?  How old does a child have to be before they are able to learn certain things?  Would you like your child to look after you when you reach your golden years, or are you already looking after one of your parents?  You could write about the road of life, how you handled all the challenges of being a child, a parent and an elder.

Dylan Hughes has next Friday, June 7 with her First Line Friday and then I will be back on Friday, June 14 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘Eli’s Coming’. When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which I sort of have working now, however it only works if you click on that square object below the picture. This will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, and then follow the directions that are given.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

31 comments on “Teach Your Children

  1. Reena Saxena
    May 31, 2019

    On Children
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    • newepicauthor
      May 31, 2019

      Thanks for your very spiritual take on this Reena.

    • wildchild47
      June 1, 2019

      I’ve always thought this was very beautiful and ALL parents should have a copy plastered to their walls, so they could reflect on it – daily.

  2. Reena Saxena
    May 31, 2019

    Reblogged this on Reena Saxena and commented:
    Jim Adams invites your thoughts on parenting in this challenge.

  3. Pingback: Parenting a stranger – Reena Saxena

  4. Pingback: From The Other Side – A Unique Title For Me

  5. newepicauthor
    May 31, 2019

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    Are you looking for a wide-open writing challenge today? Come join in the fun at the MM Music Challenge where there are a lot of topics for you to choose from.

  6. Pingback: Teach Your Children : MLMM 31st May music challenge | pensitivity101

  7. pensitivity101
    May 31, 2019

    Don’t know if I should post the music, but I have written something this week

  8. Jaya Avendel
    May 31, 2019

    I wrote this piece of flash fiction a while ago but feel as if it fits this prompt perfectly. Hope you enjoy!


    • newepicauthor
      June 1, 2019

      I guess all children need discipline at times and I can see how hard that must be on the parents.

      • Jaya Avendel
        June 1, 2019

        I truly believe discipline has no roots in violence. I enjoyed showing that through Miles’ experience with his father. 😊

  9. Pingback: MM Music Challenge — Teach Your Children Well – Tao Talk

  10. msjadeli
    June 1, 2019

    I see you got your Mr. Linky fixed 🙂

    • newepicauthor
      June 1, 2019

      There were two spaces that I was leaving out in the code and it made me happy to finally see it work.

  11. wildchild47
    June 1, 2019

    Jim, I approved some of your pingbacks – including your own – and please, double back to your last mlmm music challenge – I left you some information in the comments, that might help you solve some of your notification issues etc. (don’t know if you’ve seen that)

    and thanks for the interesting challenge – I’m sure you’ll get all kinds in the responses 🙂

    • newepicauthor
      June 1, 2019

      Thanks Wildchild and I will do my best to remedy this. I just saw your info on my post The Mighty Quinn from two weeks ago and I appreciate you trying to help me.

      • wildchild47
        June 1, 2019

        just trying to help you figure things out Jim – it can be a bit crazy in the beginning, but I think you’ve sorted most of it right well 🙂 you’re doing fine – and I hope I’m not stepping on your toes!

    • newepicauthor
      June 1, 2019

      You have been a great help and I just got an email that you liked my comment, which is what I need to stay in touch with what is going on here.

      • wildchild47
        June 1, 2019

        cool! glad that it’s helped and you’re feeling better for keeping track – so now, all steam ahead 🙂
        have a great weekend Jim 🙂

    • newepicauthor
      June 1, 2019

      Thanks again. Should I keep on calling you Wildchild? I am curious as how you are part of Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, as I only have been corresponding with Sarah and Candice. I sort of know Michael and I have participated in many of the challenges, but I am curious if you are hosting any of them.

      • wildchild47
        June 1, 2019

        I’m Pat – I’ve been around MLMM for ages, (come and go – and different user names) – I’ve been a host for almost all the prompts before, and was a regular too. Now, I’m part of the staff, sort of keeping an eye behind the scenes, and filling in if something comes up (i.e. someone needs a break, of some life thing happens etc.)

  12. Pingback: Teach Your Children – By Sarah

  13. Cressida
    June 2, 2019

    Thanks for an interesting prompt.

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