This past Sunday I was in Gurdwara and we were standing for Ardas. Narayan was whining about how he was tired, didn’t want to stand, and was not really listening to me about being respectful. I then whispered to him how important it was to stand tall, still and pray. To remember those Sikhs who came before us and sacrificed a great deal to maintain the Sikh way of life. I realized he didn’t really understand what this was all about, and that I had to start explaining more about why we do these different things (Specifically “Ardas”). Now that he is getting older (4-1/2) it is easier for him to understand spiritual things, and to relate to this all.
I whispered in his ear about the moguls trying to convert the Sikhs to Islam and all the torture that they committed on the Sikhs. His eyes lit up; he was interested. I told him later I would tell him some stories.
After Gurdwara I ran into my office and printed out a document which had an explanation of Ardas with pictures (by Prof. Onkar Singh, Phx.) and took it home with me. Since then every night before Narayan goes to sleep I have been reading a page or two of the stories from Ardas. Each time re-enforcing the concept of why we do Ardas. Narayan is especially intrigued by the torture parts. For some reason anything with blood/injuries/fighting/etc is very interesting.
Today I just finished the story about Bhai Mani and getting cut up at every joint. I looked at the next page and saw the picture of someone being scalped. Phew! Some heavy duty stuff when you think about what these Sikhs went through and how brave they were! It make you realize how easy we have it!
I am feeling my time coming to really start teaching Narayan about many of the Sikh concepts. In the past he didn’t understand or relate much. I think now he is starting to understand more, so it is exciting for me to start sharing with him. This is new for me. This is my first time being a father…so it is nice to share these things which give so much more meaning as to why we are Sikhs and should live a certain way. It’s also cool that he is interested in it!
I think as parents we just have to take the time to explain these things in a way that they can relate to and enjoy. Now that I started with this….I feel like flood gates have opened and there is so much that I need to start teaching him. Such is the life of a Parent right? All I know is that I want to do my best to instill the values of Sikhi in a way that he understands and appreciates. Then it is up to Guruji to guide him when he is older. I have seen many friends who used to be Sikhs but don’t practice anymore. I try to keep a very open mind with this. Ideally I want Narayan to live the Sikh lifestyle. However if he chooses not to, my prayer is that he at least lives a conscious and spiritual lifestyle. It hurts to see loved ones throw it all away just to be a regular “Joe” and “fit in”. I for one…like to stand out. I think Guru Gobind Singh intended for us to stand out, be leaders and protectors.
So much to learn and share as a parent. It’s an interesting journey that I am on :)
PS. You can read about the meaning of Ardas on SikhiWiki at: http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php?title=Ardas