Teach by Example

Thirty years. In this month of May, I celebrate 30 years of motherhood. (And, my oldest daughter, Kara celebrates her 30th birthday. Happy Birthday, Kara Joy!) What a ride! What a journey! Who knew?

Well, perhaps Graham Nash knew when, nearly 50 years ago, he shared sage wisdom, for both parents and children in his song – Teach your Children Well. Twenty years after this song became a hit, Graham wrote “The idea is that you write something so personal that every single person on the planet can relate to it.” Not all of us are parents, but each of us is a child. Can you relate to these words?

Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you’ll now by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So you 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

I loved this tune back in the 70s when, believe it or not, I could actually play it on the guitar. Of course at the time, I appreciated the song as only a teenager could, without the wisdom that comes with age. Today, I hear this song from a different perspective. I have what we call “life experience.” I have been a child, and I now have 30 years of experience parenting my three daughters.

When I hear this song today, it often brings a tear to my eye. I remember my own parents, the values they instilled, the sacrifices that they made as they did their best in raising their six daughters – to teach us well. Their legacy, the way the wanted to be remembered, is emblazoned on their tombstone. “They loved.” As I reflect on the 30 years of being a parent myself, nearly half of that tenure as a sole parent due to the untimely and unexpected passing of my husband, my partner in parenting, I, too, have done my best – to teach by example – respect, kindness, humility, compassion, empathy, LOVE.

It is a genuine privilege to teach a weekly yoga class in Boston’s Mattapan Library. In nearly every class, it brings me great joy to lead different family configurations as they practice yoga together – a young mom and dad with their 3-year-old daughter, a grandma and granddaughter (in matching yoga pants!), a middle aged mom and her young adult daughter, another mom with her 10-year-old son. I was delighted to have my own 25-year-old daughter participate in a class when she was in town recently, visiting from NYC. Have you given consideration to yoga as a family activity? Yoga – redefining quality family time.

Teach your children well.


  1. Hello! I found your website through the Setu Yoga Community and I am so glad I did. I am a mom of an almost 5 year old daughter, and this post really resonated with me. I can’t imagine how it will feel when she is grown, but I hope she learns from me (in both my successes and my mistakes) and learns to love yoga the same way that I do.

    Happy Friday!

    1. Thank you for your message! I am grateful to hear that my reflection touched you. Indeed, when it comes to my children, nothing matters more. While our parent-child roles have not been reversed (yet), I find that more and more, as the years roll by, my daughters truly are teaching me well. I came to yoga later in life, so have only begun to share this passion with my children over the past few years. It joyfully brings me another teaching opportunity, as both mom and yoga teacher.

      Be well.

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