Crosby,Stills,N&Y:"Teach your children"--why does it say "they pickS"?

Graham Nash is a good harmony singer, and probably a nice guy, but no one ever accused him of being a great songwriter. If I recall correctly, he didn’t write any of the Hollies’ hits.

I always heard it like this:

“The one they pick; s’the one you’ll know by.”
mmm

[quote=“TByrd, post:12, topic:409675”]

If anyone really cares, I thought I’d post the answer to the issue this thread is about. I, too, wondered about “picks” so I went back and listened to an old acoustic concert on you tube to see if I could hear the lyrics any better. I could. He clearly sings this:

…they one they pick,
Is the one you’ll know by.

Here is the link to the concert:

[/QUOTE]

Welcome, TByrd, and thank you for the original research.

“The one they picks…”

I always assumed this was a reference to Gollum, precious…

[quote=“TByrd, post:12, topic:409675”]

If anyone really cares, I thought I’d post the answer to the issue this thread is about. I, too, wondered about “picks” so I went back and listened to an old acoustic concert on you tube to see if I could hear the lyrics any better. I could. He clearly sings this:

…they one they pick,
Is the one you’ll know by.

Here is the link to the concert:

[/QUOTE]

I have no dog in this fight, but singers do often change up a lyric here and there. It’s entirely possibly what was sung on the record is different than in concert.

Me too, I’ve never given that line any thought. Their father’s health did slowly go, teach them well since he won’t be there much longer (or is already gone). It makes the following line about the children’s health a bit more cryptic, but I think it still works.

I know that was a joke, but it does come up in a Led Zeppelin song.
“'T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum, and the evil one
Crept up and slipped away with her”

It’s an anti-war song, written during the Viet Nam war. Their father’s hell is the war. At least that’s the way I always interpreted it, and I was around when the war was going on and the song was popular.

Pick’s. Contraction: Pick is → pick’s

That makes sense. I had always interpreted “health” in the context of “adults gotta teach their children because they are gonna get old and die.”

IMHO, if they can write a poem that comes across as complete nonsense, then they’re entitled to some crappy grammar, too.

“a” Led Zeppelin song :slight_smile:

When the song came out, there was a little thing called the “generation gap.” For the counter-cultural youth at the time, nearly everything associated with the post-WW2 generation, from the Vietnam War to
the “system” was a form of “hell.” Health? Makes me chuckle.

It’s an ambiguous line, and if it’s intentionally ambiguous then I admire it more: it could be the hell your father went through, or the hell that your father supervises.

Teach your children well…–needs no explaining–
Their father’s hell…the trials and tribulations and contemporary causes
did slowly go by…seemed interminable (at the time, for those of us involved)

**And feed them on your dreams **…raise them in accordance with your values
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by…you’ll know how well you taught them by seeing which of your values they retain

Don’t you ever ask them why…Don’t question their rationale for adopting/rejecting your values/causes
If they told you, you would cry…because you probably won’t like the reasons (if any) they provide.

So just look at them and sigh…Just accept them; they are your offspring
And know they love you…and believe – for your own sanity – that they love you.

Note that “the generation gap” is something of a media construct. Lots of children grow up and get along with their parents, even liking the same music that they heard while they were growing up. Many children retain their filial piety and conform to their parents’ religious and social values. But the Cause-of-the-Day is ever changing and ephemeral – anti-war, anti-racism, religious change and adherence, backlashes against previous fads and social movements… and some kids will choose to get involved in those. It’s the kids who rebel who make stories worth telling, so the media created (or identified) a trope.

The song’s second chorus switches the roles, but basically says the same thing: You might feel like you and your parents don’t see eye-to-eye, but love each other just the same and be thankful for the values and goals you share while trying to make the world a better place. And be assured (if only for your own sanity) that they love you.

–G!