My 34th Birthday is this Tuesday the 24th and it has gotten me thinking about the term "Sikh Youth". I have always considered myself a "Youth", but as I have gotten older I often ask myself and friends "When are we no longer the ‘Sikh Youth’ anymore?", afterall, I’m married and have two kids/youth of my own! Most of my friends are married and with kids as well! I was just invited to receive a "Sikh Youth Leadership Award" from a Sikh organization, and again I ask myself, am I still a Sikh Youth?? Part of the reason for having this "Sikh Youth" term is to group our new generation of Sikhs who have grown up in a very different world then our parents.
So, even though I am almost 34 years old, I still consider myself a "Sikh Youth". What I have realized is that the differences are really a type of generational gap. Our grandparents grew up in a very different world then today and so it is much more of a stretch to relate to things in the same way that youth of today do. This is the case for many of our parents generation as well, though maybe not as much, depending on their age and background.
These days the world is a very different place. We are world where people of all cultures interact in a way that was never possible in the past. Back in the day, when your parents told you to do something, you did it "or else!". These days it isn’t enough to just be told what to do. We have to understand and experience for ourselves. It’s not about how much information you have but about practicing and experiencing this lifestyle.
I sometimes joke about some of the kids these days complaining about this or that. I like to say "Back when I was a kid, we used to have to walk to school 20 miles, uphill, in the rain, in the snow!". I didn’t have to do this, but I did have many more challenges then many of the younger kids that I know, and I know many of my parents/grandparents generation had a much harder time to do things. So while in one area things are much more complicated in this world, at the same times many things are much more easy and convenient.
So, all I can say is that right now I still consider myself a Sikh Youth. When the day comes that I don’t relate to the younger generation and there are many more differences,THEN I’ll consider myself the "Adult". Actually I think that most of us 10-40 year olds will be considered the youth until our parent’s generation passes on. We’ll always be the "kids" in our parents eyes. So for all of you thirty-some year olds who are wondering the same thing, just give it up and be a "Sikh Youth"! Afterall, this is where all the action is at! If you are still youthful in your energy and actions then you are a Youth!
ps. The above picture is of my giving my friend Sat Sangeet Singh a piggy back ride. Thank you Hari Bhajan Kaur for sending me this old picture of me with the crazy colored shorts. Hahaha…