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Teaching Our Children

We are approaching the 50th anniversary of the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young recording of Graham Nash’s “Teach Your Children.” Though he wrote it while a member of the Hollies, it would appear on CSNY’s second album in 1970. It was the group’s fourth single on the charts and followed the hit, “Woodstock.”

The song urges parents to let the kids “know they love you” and all the while to “feed them on your dreams.” There is plenty of instruction in this song. A bit of trivia is that Jerry Garcia played steel guitar (though he admitted not knowing how to play one) by recording bits and pieces that became both solo and backing tracks when spliced together. In a deal made with Nash, he agreed to perform provided that CSNY would teach the Grateful Dead how to sing harmonies.

What isn’t trivia is the fact that many Baby Boomers who recall Woodstock from their formative years are still talking and teaching their children and grandchildren about their dreams. Boomers who identified with the Civil Rights movement, anti-Vietnam activism, and the sexual revolution, still crave to impart their values to better the next generation. The “Me Generation” of the 70’s is not as self-centered and narcissistic as Tom Wolfe once wrote of them. L’dor v’dor is a powerful message. Still idealistic in many respects, they, like their own parents, now want to transmit their values and dreams to those who stand next in line.

It is commonly believed that religious values become more prominent as one ages. For those who are in that position, we at the Columbus Jewish Foundation have prepared a “Letter for My Children” which can be used as a guide to explain sentiments and motives about Jewish community engagement, cultural and religious values, and peoplehood. The language is easily adaptable, so that you can express to your family the importance of our perpetuating Jewish heritage, using your own words.

You can receive this sample letter by calling me at 614-338-2365. I hope you will teach your children and feed their dreams.

Article appears as originally published in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle, Thursday July 13, 2017.

Jackie Jacobs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Jewish Foundation, the Central Ohio Jewish community’s planned giving and endowment headquarters.

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