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Friday, July 08, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XX*XIII) ['teach your children well' edition]

...Anyone who isn't familiar with the old CSN&Y hit mentioned in today's title should go and find a copy of So Far ...  listen to it... and understand that the song is talking about how information is passed (or sometimes not passed) between the generations. 

The song was written during a tumultuous time when the 'children' were convinced that their parents couldn't possibly understand them... and the parents were equally sure that the children had willfully abandoned all of the teachings with which they had been raised.

The truth is, the song is quite conciliatory.  It says that neither parent nor child can (or should) completely understand one another... but that it is important for both to make the attempt.  Today it is not enough to "just look at them and sigh".... we must help them understand.

The attack yesterday in London was something that every parent should discuss with their children.  They should talk to their kids about the things that lead to acts of violence; bigotry, intolerance and xenophobia. 

At the same time it is important to listen to the children.  They often don't know how to tell us about their fears... about the monsters that visit them in their dreams.  Their demons are every bit as real and valid as ours... perhaps more-so because they don't have the life experience to compute the odds and set the irrational  things aside.

The Internet offers a wonderful opportunity to  teach our children about our world... both the good and the bad.  The information on television moves too quickly and we can't control what words or images will pop up next.  But if in the course of our surfing for information about the bombings we're carefully choose images, headlines and captions before inviting the kids over for a chat, I think you will be surprised at where the conversation will take you.

As I said yesterday, we will unfortunately remain involved in a World War for the foreseeable future.  I honestly don't see it ending before my children go out into the world... so it is up to me to help them understand things as best I can.

[Note: before anyone makes any smart comments about my plaid PJ bottoms... let me ask how many of you get dressed for breakfast on the weekend?  'Nuff said.]

Teach Your Children  - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
(Lyrics by Graham Nash)

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 good-bye.
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.

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 will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by David Bogner on July 8, 2005 | Permalink


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I wasn't going to say anything about the PJs... But that is a mighty fine laptop-stand-thing you've got there. Not to mention the (17"?) PowerBook ;)

I'm listening to CSN(&Y) right now... Weird.

Not sure I have anything useful to add about main message of your post, but seeing the current situation referred to as a World War is chilling. And accurate.

Posted by: wogo | Jul 8, 2005 12:10:10 PM

Now I'll have that song running through my head all day. Not such a bad thing. I've already talked about it with my almost twelve-year-old. We have family in Britain, and that was her first concern, so we hauled out a map to compare their locations with London. And then launched into a discussion of the inevitability of conflict, ways to deal with it, and cowardice, and respect for life. Not only is it necessary that parents discuss these things with their children, it's rewarding: I was truly impressed with the things she had to say!

Posted by: Mary | Jul 8, 2005 1:17:00 PM

Beautiful song. The lyrics has been already copied onto a file in my "Interesting things" folder :-)

As for the other topic... I am so glad my children are too young (4 and 3) to talk to them about that. The situation is so sad and so, so scary. How I hope I will never have to discuss that with them... Talk about cowardice.

Shabbat shalom!

Posted by: Sandra | Jul 8, 2005 2:47:54 PM

If you hadn't mentioned those were pj's, I never would have noticed!

I love that song, too. I used the title as a title for one of my postcards awhile back, in fact, and said some of the same kinds of things you mention. I hadn't thought about discussing yesterday with my girls; now I think I will. I know they already have nightmares and fears at times, and talking about things is one of the ways to help deal with those fears.

Posted by: AmyS | Jul 8, 2005 3:47:06 PM

I also dig the laptop stand. Do you do all your blogging (at home) on the couch?

Also, we used to sing Teach Your Children at camp as kids. I remember always thinking "how can they get away with the word 'hell' in a camp song?"

Posted by: Dave | Jul 8, 2005 3:49:28 PM

It's amazing that we can learn something from even a bunch of drugged-out, washed out (and washed up) rockers! Good shabbos

Posted by: moC | Jul 8, 2005 4:49:12 PM

David (note full name) - the picture is so dark on my monitor that it looks like you only have an upper torso, as your legs blend into the darkness of the couch. No plaid came across to me at all and if you hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have known.

Those kids look pretty alert for a weekend morning! Not the niece and nephew I remember! ;)

Posted by: val | Jul 8, 2005 5:08:56 PM

Would never have noticed the PJs, but I got a big smile after you pointed them out. I see the coffee is never more than two feet away!

Is that your ketuba [Jewish marriage document that is frequently beautifully decorated and displayed in the couple's home] in the top right corner? Very pretty.

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 8, 2005 5:25:33 PM

I'm just glad you clarified that they're pjs. I was thinking: must. not. mock. pants.

Posted by: Tanya | Jul 8, 2005 5:27:14 PM

That's one of those songs that I can't listen to without crying. Thanks alot.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Jul 8, 2005 5:27:33 PM

Wogo... Thanks, I love my laptop stand as well. It is really flexible and can be used next to a chair, couch or even bed. The great thing is that the arm with the laptop swings out of the way when not in use. Also, it has a couple of shelves for essential peripherals such as coffee. :-) As to the wide screen G4 powerbook, I am a relatively new convert to the Mac world. Zahava has a G4 tower and a G3 laptop for her graphic design work and making presentations, but I've always been a PC guy. Unfortunately, the desktop PC I got when we moved here has never been exactly stable and I have been longing to replace it. On my last trip to the states I asked my little sister if she would consider selling me one of her older computers since she and my brother-in-law tend to update their equipment fairly frequently. She handed me this G4 and said "Here, you can have it". You can imagine what a happy little boy I was! Now if I can only keep my wife from trying to steal it away from me...

Mary... Many parents try to shelter their kids from reality but only succeed in setting them up for confusion and fear when they get older. Also, I have a feeling that many (but certainly not all) of the people who turn towards extremism as adults were never given the opportunity to understand subtlety and nuance as children. Just a theory.

Sandra... They may be too young, but you will have to have the talk some day soon. Even if peace breaks out all over... the only way our children will know not to repeat our generations mistakes is to learn from them. That can't happen unless we teach them... well.

AmyS... I have to admit that I am only about half way through your beautiful postcards. I usually end up staring at something for too long and then have to go do something responsible, like raise my children. :-)

Dave... I hve only been surfing/journaling on the couch since getting the new laptop (it has built in airport (wireless access) so I can sit anywhere in the house. 99% of the writing I do is at home in the early morning or sometimes very late at night. On rare occasions I will eat lunch at my desk at work and jot down something about which I feel particularly vexed... but I really try very hard not to do anything from work except respond to comments once in a while.

MoC... I haven't met anyone yet from whom I couldn't learn something. However, some of those lessons are cautionary tales. :-) Shabbat Shalom.

Val... You are aware that monitors can be adjusted, yes? If you are using a laptop it may be something as simple as tilting the screen to a better angle or going into the settings and adjusting the brightness. As to the alert state of the kids... school's out and summer vacation is in. For some reason they no longer have trouble getting up in the morning! :-)

Doctor Bean... You don't expect me to function in the morning without the oily black elixir of life, do you??? And yes, that is our Ketubah on the wall. A neat connection is that it was painted by Rishon Rishon's wife! How's that for a neat connection? Shabbat Shalom.

Tanya... You (or perhaps I) lucked out that I wasn't wearing my blue and white striped Irish flannel nightshirt (it gets cold here at night... even in the summer!)! I mean, my mother says I have great legs... but I've nver heard those words from another human being. :-)

Psychotoddler... I cry when I hear it too, but mostly because almost nobody else has ever come close to the perfection of their vocal harmonies! :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 8, 2005 6:21:50 PM

I used to really like that song, but it was so overplayed that it is on my list of tunes that cannot be listened to for about ten year, but that is neither here nor there.

The wireless access is cool, one of these days I am going to have to set that up in my house. Very nice.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 8, 2005 7:16:34 PM

Dr. Bean -- to further explain the neat little connection with Rishon-Rishon's wife, I became friendly with her many years ago, several years before I met David. I was living in Corning, NY and spending Shabbatot (for what should be obvious reasons) with my brother who was studying at Cornell. Rishon-Rishon's wife was studying at Brown (I think) but grew up near Ithaca and we met while she was spending time with her family. With art as a common interest, we developed a natural and comfortable friendship. When David and I became engaged, I begged her to recreate a beautiful painting of hers (which I had drooled over at one of her exibitions) for our Ketuba. It is truly among our most treasured possessions.

Right before our wedding, Rishon-Rishon's wife made aliyah. I hadn't seen her in 13 years, but imagine my delight when she strolled up to the Israeli-blogmeet on Rishon-Rishon's arm! Tis a small, small world we live in! :-) Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: zahava | Jul 8, 2005 7:17:17 PM

Zahava: Thanks. By the way, either you or Yonah take very nice pictures!

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 8, 2005 8:38:37 PM

I have been coming to this blog on occasion, and always enjoy your posts. But what led me to comment was your Mac. Whenever I am watching TV or a movie, I am always pleased to see that apple on the back of the computer.

Its always good to see another Mac user. I'm torn between wishing more people had macs and being glad not as many people have them so I can feel that my computer is better than their computer.

Shabbat Sholom

Posted by: Air Time | Jul 8, 2005 11:55:42 PM

Air time... I still have a lot to learn about the Mac OS, but you have to love the fact that there are far fewer viruses out there targeted at it! Glad you decided to say hello.

Posted by: David | Jul 9, 2005 10:14:17 PM

Your sister *gave* you a widescreen PowerBook G4???

But isn't it great?

So where did you get the laptop stand?

Posted by: wogo | Jul 9, 2005 10:27:01 PM

Wogo... Yeah, it is a very generous gift, but then my sister is a very generous person (and no, I wan't counting on this when I asked about buying one of her older computers). As to the laptop stand, I have had that for years now... I ordered it from somewhere online and have never seen anything that even comes close to the cool design and functionality of this one. If I can find it again with a little googling I'll send you the link.

Posted by: David | Jul 9, 2005 10:42:56 PM

OK, for anyone who commented or emailed me about the nifty laptop stand pictured in this past week's Photo Friday... here's the info:


I shlepped this thing all the way from the states to Israel! If that isn't a resounding recommendation, then I don't know what is! :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 10, 2005 10:09:27 AM

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