The picture you see above is the inspiration of the evocative song, “Teach your Children.” Graham Nash, who is also a photographer and collector of photographs, had a song idea on his mind when he saw the famous photograph by Diane Arbus titled “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.”
Captured in 1962, the photo shows a boy with the left strap hanging off his shoulder. Clenched in his right hand is a hand grenade toy replica. And on his left hand, he held in a claw-like gesture. The most intriguing part is his maniacal expression that creates a lot of interpretations.
A Song that Promotes Nonviolence
Graham Nash discovered the photograph in a San Francisco gallery and thought of composing a song that would relay a message about nonviolence. The photo prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of ideas given to children about war and other issues.
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 will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you
The song first appeared on the album Déjà vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in 1970. It peaked number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 28 on the Easy Listening chart, and number 8 in Canada.
The most popular version of the song was performed in 1994. The original singers re-recorded the song with guest vocals from country music artists Alison Krauss, Suzy Bogguss, and Kathy Mattea. The new version spent one week on the Hot Country Songs chart in October 1994.
How to teach your children well
King Solomon instructs elders to “train up a child in the way he should go so that even he will grow old, he will not depart from it.” The verse comes with a promise that the right parenting will produce children who keep the faith in which they are reared. This could also mean that even when the child may depart from their parent for a while, they will still return to the right path. But, how should parents raise their children in the context of this proverb? It all begins with the Bible.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training.” (Timothy 3:16)
A lot of passages in the Bible emphasize that training children to know and obey God is the basis for pleasing Him and living victoriously in His grace. This would conclude that the first and foremost step towards honing a child is to direct them to the only Savior, who will guide and protect them all throughout their lives.
Alison Krauss, Graham Nash, Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss, Teach your Children