"Teach Your Children" is a song by Graham Nash. Although it was written when Nash was a member of the Hollies, it was never recorded by that group, and first appeared on the album Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released in 1970. The recording features Jerry Garcia on steel guitar. Garcia did not know how to play the steel guitar. He told Lon Goddard of the British music newspaper Record Mirror in an interview, that he recorded a series of pieces on the steel guitar and spliced them together in the studio to create the backing and solo. Garcia had made an arrangement that in return for his playing steel guitar on "Teach Your Children," CSNY would teach the members of the Grateful Dead how to sing harmony for their upcoming albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. Released as a single, the song peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts that year. On the Easy Listening chart, "Teach Your Children" peaked at #28.
Nash, who is also a photographer and collector of photographs, has stated in an interview that the immediate inspiration for the song came from a famous photograph by Diane Arbus, "Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park." The image, which depicts a child with an angry expression holding the toy weapon, prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of messages given to children about war and other issues.
In 1986, Howard Stern released a parody of this song, with the subject being the Mary Beth Whitehead / Baby M surrogate birth case. The final lines were "don't inseminate someone you don't date, and buy a puppy".