"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 in studio (although a live recording does exist), and first appeared on the album Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released in 1970. The recording features Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. Garcia taught himself how to play the instrument, including during his tenure with the New Riders of the Purple Sage.  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 help members of the Grateful Dead improve their vocal 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. In Canada, "Teach Your Children" reached number 8.
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.