Friday, March 06, 2009

Teach Your Children Well

A number of years ago, Crosby, Stills & Nash came to town for a concert. My husband and I got tickets, and headed off to hear them. While I still love the close harmony of this vintage group, the concert was a bit of a disappointment for me. Why, you might ask? Because they didn't sing one number that I just love: Teach Your Children Well. (I did, however, manage to buy a T-shirt with that logo and words on it at the concert.)

My daughter knows how much I love this song--a kind of anthem for someone who is both a parent, and a teacher! She made a gift for me for some occasion--birthday, I think--in which she rounded up various photos of me with her and her brother, and then she typed the words to Teach Your Children Well, and framed the whole combination. It still hangs on the wall in my office where I can look at it daily.

Teach your children well. . .

And feed them on your dreams
The ones they pick
The ones 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.

Two recent news stories got me thinking about these words. In a prior post a while back, I wrote how my husband and I taught youth Sunday School quite a few years ago. While our favorite means of engaging the kids was food, we did teach about other topics. One topic that came up was illness--and how Christ responded to people who are sick. Perhaps as a natural segue we began talking about AIDS, and sex education. After that lesson, one of the parents called us up absolutely irate that we would dare to broach that topic in church.

If I recall correctly, my husband got the call. He patiently, for a time, listened and queried the parent. The parent insisted schools should not touch the topic of sex education nor should the church. (Huh?) Besides, she said--her son was too young to learn about such things. Mind--he was in 6th grade at the time and had an older sister. I suspect he was already hearing a great deal about the topic. It came as no surprise to my husband and me that this young man and his girlfriend ended up getting pregnant just as their high school years were ending.

So, why am I writing about him. Well, a local news story of a day ago brought this news:

"Two ---- County men pleaded guilty to killing four whitetail deer out of season and firing in a safety zone too close to homes. Each paid fines of $2,340 and will have their hunting licenses suspended. . .The men were accused of shooting a pair of bucks on two separate occasions. Game Commission officers said the shots were fired as close as 75 feet from homes.

The illegal nighttime hunting, known as jacklighting, involves shining a spotlight at a deer so it freezes, making it a target. The game commission officer said dealing with jacklighting incidents takes up the bulk of law enforcement by wildlife officers. 'It's thrill killing,' he said. "
By now you are wondering the connection--well, this is the same young man. The one whose mother thought he was too young to learn about sex education, the one who got his high school girlfriend pregnant, is now the one who is a kind of scofflaw. Does it all fit together? Maybe I am being too harsh--but methinks someone did NOT teach this child well.

Second story--from the New York Times: entitled When Grandma Can't Be Bothered, this story broke my heart. First, let me say that I have not yet had the opportunity to be a volunteering grandparent, but I will most certainly volunteer, should the opportunity arise. Second, what I found heartbreaking about this story is that children need all the love they can get, and grandparents are a wonderful source of that love.

A study some time ago pointed out the benefits to children of available caring grandparents. These children thrive. They are taught well.
Well, I am done with this little reverie--now humming "Teach Your Children Well."


Anvilcloud said...

It's a great song. Why don't they write songs like that any more?

Do I sound old and curmudgeonly?

Really though, I seldom hear a popular, contemporary song that appeals to me.

Let's hear it for grandparents!

Down with certain types of hunters!

Let's hear it for sex education in the churches -- as long as it's not "all abstinence all the time."

Ginnie said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite songs... the one from the musical "South Pacific" called "You have to be carefully taught" which highlights how children are taught to hate and to have prejudices. Parents do such great injustices to their innocent children when they have them mirror their own failings.

NCmountainwoman said...

We also went to a CS&N concert with our adult children. They sang all the old wonderful classics and it was so heart-warming to see young adults and old geezers alike standing to the music. What a night!

I also plan to get more involved in the lives of children. I will be training to be a guardian ad litem. There is a great need for them in our mountain county.

Mauigirl said...

I too love that song of theirs - I think it is probably my favorite also.

And I felt sad for the grandchildren in that article too - I just read it today myself. My grandmother was always happy to sit for me and we played games together and really enjoyed each other's company into my adulthood. I am sure these grandparents won't bond with their grandchildren the way I did with my Nana; and then when the grandkids are grown up and don't come to visit they'll wish they had.

Jayne said...

It amazes me how parents will keep their heads in the sand about what their kids need to know and already know. My sister does this occasionally, and it makes me crazy. Kudos to you and your hubby for speaking honestly to the kids and giving real information they can use to be better human beings.

JeanMac said...

Thanks for the memories (the song). Too bad for a lot of children - - -

mon@rch said...

This is great and never heard this song before!

Mary said...

Monarch did not hear the song before... He's way too young.

It's one of my favorite "sing-a-longs", with meaningful lyrics to boot.

I'm glad you and your husband care enough to teach the children well.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Thankfully, my children have awesome grandparents who take lots of time for them. My MIL even volunteers in my son's classroom each week. It's wonderful. And, that song is a favorite. Thanks for the ear worm . . . it's a good one to have stuck in your head when you are teaching kids.

Ruth said...

Great song and so true. I feel badly that my children did not see much of their grandparents due to distance. Generational wisdom is so important to pass along. Sad example about the young man who was in your Sunday School class.

RuthieJ said...

I love that song too (gotta remember to add it to my iPod!)
That's a sad story about that young man. I bet there all sorts of excuses from him and his parents about why these "bad" things keep happening to him.