Teach your children well

You learn a lot sitting around the Christmas Dinner Table

Probably one of the more impactful songs from my youth came from a Crosby Stills Nash and Young album. I still play the song on my IPod and it takes me back to a time when this country was divided by generations and by a very unpopular war. On May 31st 1970, “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young entered Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart at position #85; seven weeks later on July 19th, 1970 it would peak at #16 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 11 weeks… But the iconic song would cross a generation and survive as an epic example of a song of activism.

I’m sure I have listened to a thousand times at least.

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

The song has stuck with me all of these years and come to mean something so powerful and true. The next lines are the reason why.

Teach your children well
Their father’s hell
Will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks
The one you’ll know by.

Who teaches the children?

This afternoon, I was sitting at a table with a young family. Mom and Dad were probably in their forties. The son is in his junior year of college and next to me sat the seventeen year old daughter. She seemed nice when we first started talking. A senior in high school (one of the nicer schools in our area) and a girl that works part time and wants to go into the health field. Like most kids, she was dressed in the uniform of the day. Very dramatic makeup to match her purple hair and nose piercing. A little over fed but all in all, not a bad looking girl.

We talked about careers and I gave both she and her brother some pointers on where to look for career advice.

While she has a general idea of where she wants to go, she was not sure how to actually achieve the goals.

Then things kind of went south.

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

Purple hair said that she wanted to travel and also get an education. I mentioned the fact that even though it required some sacrifice, maybe a tour in the military would help her achieve both. I wasn’t pushing the Navy or any particular service, I just related that it was a way for me to see a lot of the world and also get a college degree with little to no debt on my part.

She looked at me and said, “I would never do anything like that. The military go to all of the countries around the world and are responsible for their destruction and for the growth of the world wide epidemic in drugs.”

This was a Christmas Day dinner so I refrained from jumping up and shouting at her. Her parents were across the table from us and didn’t say a word about the fact that their precious little purple haired daughter had just impugned the honor and sacrifices of millions of some of the best men and women this country has ever known.  Not a single word. They just sat there with blank looks on their faces. Frankly, from the rest of their conversation, I am not totally shocked.

The girl went on to tell me that she learned most of her information from her Vietnam Veteran grandfather but mostly from her high school history teacher. She was so proud that he was glad that she did so much research on her own and came to the conclusion that the only thing our military does is go to other countries, destroy them, then our horrible government gives the survivors boatloads of money so we can control them in the future. There is no way she could serve in a military that is there for nothing more than killing and making complete slaves of other countries.

As she was saying it, the way she was looking at me was with complete contempt. Remember, I had just said moments before about being a career military man. She went on to say how great her teacher was and how well he had shown her that the government was not trustworthy and she wanted nothing to do with any of it in the future.

I tried for a few moments to get her to look at some other ways the military had been useful in the world. All of the relief missions we have done to countries ravaged by natural disasters. Countries like Kuwait that were freed from evil dictators. Her only response was that she had never heard of these things and wanted to know specific dates and places so she could prove that I was wrong. Her teacher and her parents had done a fantastic job.

I had a quick flashback to arriving back in the country from overseas in the late summer of 1975.

I flew home from Guam where the refugees from the lost country of South Vietnam were living in squalid conditions on the island. Proud people living in tents waiting for the trucks filled with their daily rice until they could be flown to safety. My trip took me through San Francisco airport. I was on my way to my next boat in Mare Island outside of the city. I was in uniform and that made me a bit of a target. Even though the war was over, there were a few anti war people still bold enough to cast insults at returning members of the military. The hostility was real. I never wore a uniform in the Bay area again during that tour.

The teacher that poisoned that young girl’s mind with his own hate has done a credible job. I can’t help but feel that there are many more of him out there. Those of us old enough to remember those days are probably more sensitive than others. I can see where this is going. If enough of this generation are turned into mindless repeaters of false facts, this country will be lost within a generation. Maybe its already too late.

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.

I’m not so sure about that last part. I see so many young people who have no respect for the older generations. Its as if some magic genie came and wiped it all away in an entire generation. I would like to say its an isolated case. But I see it more and more all the time. And most of it comes form the schools and the parents who are too busy with everything else to actually teach their kids.

This wasn’t the Christmas story I wanted to remember for 2018.

But I can assure you that I will have a hard time forgetting it. Hopefully the good Lord will be kind to me and not make me wait too much longer to come home. In the meantime, I am going to learn to keep my thoughts to myself around the next generation of kids coming up. And pray a lot more.

Mister Mac

5 thoughts on “Teach your children well

  1. The indoctrination and lack of independent critical thought terrifies me. My son is dating a young woman like your purple-haired specimen, though 27, she and I will never find common ground.

    Prayer does help.

  2. Mr Mac,

    I teach pre engineering and am a qualified submariner. SSN-664 March 1985. I have had encounters with the type of history teacher you speak of on several occasions. Needless to say I did my best to take them down a notch.
    Several admin types in department head meetings talking down the military. “They are just joining the military” Put a stop to that too. Had a guidance counselor who told some of my students they were better that that when speaking of military service…told her to take the ASVAB the next time….she scored a 38! Not bad for a lady with multiple degrees…funny how the girl who could do better scored 88. I guess she already did better tha said counselor. I’ll keep fighting the fight in my little corner of America….don’t be disheartened sir.

  3. It’s not history as much as indoctrination and sad to say, it is working. Far too many have ‘drunk the kool aid’ and are happy with it. I’m sorry you had to go through that during a Christmas dinner, Mister Mad; how many others did the same though? Makes me glad that for a variety of reasons Kathy and I chose cats over kids.

  4. Prayer does help, and so does fighting our corner. Keep up the skeer, Mac. And besides, we need you for a time yet.

    There are good ones coming up too, and when you see one, it helps take the sting away I flew through Dallas a couple of times in the last week, and how great those kids look in cammies or carrying their rucks. We need more of them, sure enough, but their shiny young faces just gladden the heart.

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