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Do Sikh Parents Understand?

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by Abneet, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Abneet

    Abneet
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    Do Sikh parents understand what their sons and daughters go through?

    First I want to talk about Sikh families currently living in America. A lot of my Sikh friends have cut their hair due to pressure and wanting to attract opposite sex. Today's society in America is hard to be part of as a Sikh myself. Going to an majority white school in a majority Christian country is a tough thing. Sikh parents make sacrifices to come to America, but they don't realize it is a whole different world. They don't understand how to take make sure their sons and daughters are doing alright. Now I'm not saying all Sikh parents are like this.

    I asked my Dad a couple of days ago why he moved to America. He said that he wanted a better life in America. I said do you realize all of your family are mostly in India. I even told him do you think Americans today respect all Sikhs with a pagh? My dad is never concerned with me getting bullied back in elementary school. Why is this? I told my Dad if you really want me to be strong with my Sikhi faith you should of lived in India.

    I have heard stories of Sikh families coming to America and their sons cutting their hair due to the new society they have been brought up in? How do we stop this? Some Sikh parents are too strict at a point they see what their kids go through everyday.

    Why does our Sikh families move out of India to different countries? I can see how they want to live a better life or they were already born in that country, but wouldn't it be great if Sikhi sangat in India was bigger and more productive? Do Sikh parents really realize what their kids have to go through in a different country where they are seen as different?
     
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  3. spnadmin

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    Abneet ji

    I do not mean to sound harsh; so do not take my words that way. It is important for you to be specific about what Sikh parents don't understand about the experiences of their Sikh children.

    Putting my words differently, many children from many faiths do not think their parents understand what they are going through. What do Sikh parents need to understand that is particular to Sikh children?

    Your question could lead to some very important discoveries that parents reading the threads would find helpful.

    We also have to go easy on parents and give to most of them the benefit of the doubt. Few parents are so wicked that they neglect their children emotionally, or neglect their spiritual development through pure ignorance. Parents see your world through parents' eyes. They believe they see correctly. Parents' eyes are the only eyes they have to see with. They hear through parents; ears because they have only parents' ears to hear with. They feel with parents' intuitions because that is who they are, parents.

    When more needs to be injected into a relationship between parents and children both sides have to be willing to listen, children have to listen too. Let's see what your list looks like. We can take it from there.
     
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  4. Abneet

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    Sorry If I came too harsh with my words to any Sikh parent reading this.

    I just want Sikh parents especially those in America to look after their kids. I mean society today is so messed up. And I know there are some very good Sikh parents that teach their kids at a young age and bring him up to a very good path in life. But most Sikh parents even in my community at my Gurdwara they don't realize they need to step up and teach their kids about Gurmukhi and everything so that they don't question it later on. If its too late and a Sikh boy whos in his teenage years doesn't really understand and failed to be taught by his own parents will cut his hair no doubt about it.

    Now in my case my Dad who is Amritdhari never really taught me much. He didn't do his job. My dad got home at 9 everyday. He had no time but A father is supposed to help his son or daughter get close to Waheguru. A Father is supposed to lead him/her on a path. But in my case I had to figure everything out by myself. I had to read books about Sikhi and do my own learning. I was extremely lucky in my case. I wanted to learn about Sikhi and so I did. What can a Sikh parent say when his child questions his faith and doubts it. It's the parents own fault.

    Also Sikh parents need to control their emotions and anger. I know I might sound crazy, but this is really common that I've noticed. My parents and other Punjabi parents don't have feelings for their son and daughter when they are in their teenage age. They are so focused on how your education is going? First thing I get asked when I get picked up from school is Oh How did you do on your test? Did you have any tests today? I know this is essential for our parents to be concerned about grades but they should worry about other things in our life.

    One thing Sikh parents have no clue about is what their kids do on the internet. Enough is said that most Sikh guys are in the pit of lust when it comes to internet surfing. I would love to see the faces of Sikh parents after they know what their children do on the internet.

    I can't blame it on Sikh parents alone. What are Gurdwaras doing about this. I know many gurdwaras who teach kids, but don't realize there is other things to teach. Gurdwaras are there for us to come and learn. There has to be lessons about what should be avoided and how can one do that such drugs and alcohol and lust. There are many things to be learnt. There needs to be more emphasize on teachings of Gurbani. Where do you see most teenagers in Gurdwaras? In Langar halls talking to their friends or playing a game? How can one learn from spending time doing worthless things? Gurdwara committees should give advice to Sikh parents to fix their selves before they want to help their children and by that I mean tell parents especially Sikh fathers stop the alcohol and start acting like a real Sikh. Sikhi is declining at where I live for the most part it is unacceptable.

    I want to know why Sikh parents move to America? They don't understand the ignorance of American is never gonna be abolished. You had a Sikh truck driver in Mississippi arrested because he had a turban and was called a terrorist by the cops. Not only that the judge wouldn't let him in the court with "that raghead". Come on its 2013 and America still hasn't changed one bit. It really shows Sikhs don't belong here and living here is only harming our future and past years have shown us more hair being cut and more being "whitewashed". Its better if most of us were in India.

    Sorry if I went on a rant. :realangrymunda:
     
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    #3 Abneet, Dec 17, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  5. spnadmin

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    OK Abneet ji, You have really poured your heart out. Now I hope you get some insights from responders and from parents. Most of all I hope our visitors who do not post come on board in their minds' eyes and see how deeply these problems are felt. This is not the first time I myself have heard of this. Take the message with you when you leave the site and do something.

    It doesn't have to be big. It could and should be in sangat. Start small and grow. Parents carry a lot on their shoulders. More than their kids can imagine. If sangat is willing to connect with just one or two young people, through organized sewa, Punjabi classes, history clubs, going green projects, etc. that one young person will bring another soon enough. I have seen it happen.

    And Abneet ji please do not give up on yourself or your family. As I said before, they cannot see through your eyes until they do. So keep talking to them. You are the most important person in their lives.
     
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  6. Abneet

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    Spnadmin Ji, you see I'm only 16 years old. At my gurdwara no one will listen to teenager whos around my age. They think we don't have enough knowledge or they like to ignore the truth and wish to carry out their deeds. I wish in the future though I can do something about it and I hope very much some Sikh parents learn at least one thing from this thread. Trust me if I could go on the podium at the gurdwara and lecture everyone I would but you know its very difficult to do that in a situation where in my gurdwara most Sikh men ignore the truth and laws.

    Also if there are parents out there that are skeptical how they react to things just look at what happens to UK Sikh girls who are groomed by Muslim guys etc... They all mentioned how their parents did not want to see their faces again and even kicked them out. This is cruel and in my opinion wrong. There needs to be love given and things talked about in a situation like that. Even some Sikh girls felt scared to tell their parents about the situation because they knew they would get angry. Just a thought to keep in mind.
     
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  7. a.mother

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    ( Parents carry a lot on their shoulders. More than their kids can imagine.)
    SPNadmin ji,
    You have stole my words. Personally I go through this. Abneet ji, punjabi parents carry unbelievable burden for their kids. They don't want if their kids face even ONE hurdle. They want to do everything for them. And they even forget about them selves But sometimes we miss very important thing what you are sharing with us. As A PARENTS I GO THROUGH YEARS SLEEPLESS NIGHTS but still I miss lot of what I suppose to give them.( I thought I gave what no one can give). When we think we are giving everything some times we miss basic and very important thing.

    (they cannot see through your eyes until they do.)

    SPN admin ji thats so true some time we miss to see through their eyes. Abneet ji what I feel you are a blessed kid, and you share every angle of problem in these country. Sikh Philosophy is here to help.
     
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  8. Abneet

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    You both are right. Maybe I don't see from a mother or father's perspective view. But I must agree my parents have made huge amount of sacrifices for me and that's why I want to give back to them later on in life. I am lucky to even be alive! Talk about how many children in the US are being aborted each day because their parents can't afford them or some other bad excuse. Everyone deserves a chance to live no matter what.

    Back on the topic, I want to say Punjabi parents in Punjab area or around India have a little more time off their back caring about their children. Over there parents don't have to worry about them fitting in with society and many other things. But when Sikh families are outside of India where Sikhism isn't that well known can be a struggle. It really all depends on the Sikh parents and how they were brought up. I really don't know how our ancestors did parenting.

    I also have to argue against some Sikh parents when getting advice from someone telling them what they should do according to Sikhi but some parents say, "worry about your own business and family." What does this mean? No one can stand up and tell someone the real truth what they should do just as advice? Even though I might be fixing myself I still have the right to tell someone what they should ought to do. In my community it was a great Sikh Sangat back in the 90's. Now parents have no control once their kid goes to college. They start to do drugs and alcohol and the parenting has done absolutely nothing to them. I even seen very religious uncles and auntis of mine be mad for their sons cutting their hair. But they forgive them after a while! What non sense is this! The kids who cut their hair say they can't take it anymore, but now I see them getting wasted and lusting after girls. It shows they cut their hair to fit in society which is a big issue. We are ought to stand out as we were told.

    Sikh parents think its fine to say "okay I understand your pain and suffering and having long hair in this kind of world it is hard to keep and maintain so go cut it for your own good." This is about 50% of the cases I know of. These Sikh parents just give up and don't even think not even for a second what their ancestors did to bring them into this world. They leave everything behind and move on with their lives it is truly tragic. This is even affecting their dads. How many Sikh fathers you see have trimmed beard? There are apparently a lot. Where are they getting this idea from I don't know. When they have their own child they are more probable to let their child shave. You know a good amount of those Sikh children who shave end up cutting their hair. That is a BIG SIGN to Sikh parents. If you see shaving of your child and he wears a pagh, you see he is trying to fit in.

    Other cases when a Sikh girl or boy cuts their hair they get kicked out of their house or their dad beats them and ignores them. Stick with me to this fact, Sikh Dads even Amritdharis whose sons or daughters cut their hair will be very aggressive and angry towards their children. Even in those situations I have been through, never have I heard a Sikh dad control his angry. You might think I might be crazy but an angry Sikh dad must control his anger when a situation like this happens. In my opinion, I don't know what a Sikh dad should do. One should tell them what they did was unacceptable and teach his Sikhi until he or she understands. If not I don't know what else to say.I'm trying to give advise to any Sikh parent who might go through these kind of crisis with their child. I want to help them notice what might happen when their child is at that stage of life where they question their own faith.


    Our gurdwara is only one of five in our state. It is sad how no one gives lectures about alcohol abuse and lust among the Sangat. One thing that bothers me is that even most of the sangat will ignore the message trying to be reached out only for guidance. I may be repeating what I said last time but I'm doing it because it is a big point on this topic. One should give advice for all Sangat not just on these topics but for all. I might no be qualified to do this, but it should be done. It could bring a great change to minor Sikh communities in the world that have trouble keeping up with their faith. They need to be told right in front of them and if they choose to ignore let them be then forcing isn't acceptable either maybe in some circumstances.
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Abneet ji

    Stick with me on this. We will tackle each point one at a time, maybe one each day. But until we do that I want you to know that everything you say is important, and none of it can be fixed overnight.

    One small step, even though that is the most frustrating thing there can be.

    One kid at a time, even though you are torn apart thinking about all the others.

    I am going to ask you to make a proposal. What can we do here? You don't have to answer right away. One thing we don't want are a lot of people pointing fingers or coming up with single bullet solutions. You tell us and we will try to see what you see.

    We can study one problem at a time and with patience come up with solid ways to moving things in a different direction.

    a.mother ji said
    We want to fnd out what some of those things might be.

    At some point though I am going to have to paint the picture for you from the parents' point of view. You know I am not a parent, but I have been a teacher for 44 years. I have watched parents suffer for their children, feel a lot of guilt for things they had no way to control and no way to change, be unable to discuss things for fear it would make them look weak in the eyes of their children, and be too overwhelmed to ask for help. See, the last thing a parent wants is to seem disabled in the eyes of the children. Often problems were so big they did not even know what to ask for. They only knew to be angry. So let's reboot here, and you tell us what we can do.
     
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  10. Abneet

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    This whole time for about two hours I just talked to my Dad. He agreed on the point that he didn't do enough to help me learn Sikhi, but he felt proud of me of teaching myself Sikhi. It really touched my heart.


    Spnadmin Ji, There first of all has to be step taking in Gurdwara. I mean literally there must and I mean must be a change in Gurdwaras. Not only are Gurdwaras are getting worse, but it is affecting the youth. Sikh parents should bring their kids to Gurdwara to learn and achieve enlightment. When I mean classes at Gurdwara I mean real actual classes not unorganized assembly room where kids are flocking all over the place. Look at Baru Sahib. They are excellent in teaching kids. I know many Sikhs who have cut their hair and went there for the summer and came back completely changed. It is truly amazing. We need to teach in a similar style. There has to be a speaker a person who has intellect and knows the truth and his Sikhi teachings pretty well. He needs to talk about to parents and urge them to teach their kids at a young age. The speaker can be a Sikh parent or anyone with knowledge about this kind of stuff. People have to stop being afraid and have to be able to tell people you ought to do this or that. It's really hard I know, but it is a must. It's for the good of the Sangat. Like I said the purpose of the speaker is to tell this people including parents what to do and get their knowledge from Rehit Maryada. If these kind of people don't want to read the Scriptures themselves than we must say it to them they have to get the message.


    Second step, I could say it right now Sikh parents must teach their kids at a young age about Sikhism. It helps in the long run. Many Sikh parents have done this but have found complications when their child goes to college.

    Another very big issue is Sikh girls. Most Sikh moms in America have cut hair and their child uses that excuse for them to cut their hair, but their dad is a full sardar. This is a big problem, both parents must plan to attack this issue when it might be brought up by a child.

    Sikh parents that have girls need to learn to appreciate Sikh boys with unshorn hair and dastaars. Sikh teenagers now use the word "gyani" to every boy with a patka and pagh on. It is disgraceful even though though it has a good meaning to it. Sikh girls are whitewashed and look upon short hair boys as their love due to internet media. It is absurd. This is a very big step since amritdhari Sikhs and even Sikhs with dastaars but are clean shaven have a trouble finding a Sikh woman. When they feel this way they have no choice but to cut their hair. Appreciation has to be taught in order for these kind of situations not to happen.

    More issues to follow.

    BTW Basic of Sikhi just made a video yesterday about the issue of Gurdwaras. What a coincidence!

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ANOT3mzf0Ho" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    A Sikh parent must ask what kind of future generation do they want for their Sikh children? What are they willing to do?
     
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  11. spnadmin

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    Here is what I want to know. Is it possible to make changes, real inroads, without using the "must" word? That turns people off.

    It also points a finger at someone - parents out there - and blames them for not being who they should be or doing what they should do according to another person's recipe.

    Is there a way to make the change as an individual without blaming? An honest question. How do we start this process of getting kids connected without the "must" word?

    The video like all Basics of Sikhi videos disturbs me because the Singh who produces them takes points of discontent and sometimes misery and builds a philosophy around that. I think he is forging ahead with a plan to create a movement of his own by taking advantage of all this unhappiness. Find some unhappy people and preach on a topic that is of concern and they will follow you. Teenagers in particular are vulnerable to this approach. It seems as if someone is really listening.

    Actually someone is really only preaching. His is a militant approach. I don't see how it brings children and parents together. Instead - to me - it rallies unhappy people and gives them a sense of hope by aiming at anger and frustration. Let's get back to how to be better at getting parents to listen and understand. Can we do that without the word "must."
     
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  12. Abneet

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    Spnadmin Ji, you are absolutely right when you say he is talking about a militant approach. I don't know why he says Khalsa shall dominate over the whole world. This is a hard mission but the main focus is starting bit by bit and move our way up.

    Now I know you aren't a parent yet and you have witnessed parent's grief for their children. But look at what our ancestors did in Punjab. They weren't laid back spnadmin ji. That's what parent's should fix nowadays. The word "must" has to be used you have to understand because without the word must you are becoming laid back and when the child does something that stuns the parents they know why exactly.

    spnadmin ji, I know "must" is a turn off but what other choice is there. I'm telling you right now we are running out of options. If you don't use the word must or educate your kid by force he will end up on the wrong path. It has been proven trust me many cases where the Sikh mother is laid back and realizes she has given a lot of room to her child to do stuff he or she wants. When their kesh gets cut who's fault is it? That's not the worst of it. The worst of it all is when the parents don't care about the kesh after a few days! They just forget everything in the past and move on! I can't explain how frustrating it is to see this in our society.

    A very good example even is my own family. My grandfather's dad died when he was only 8 months old. He died after fighting in 1947 I believe. My grandfather growing up with only a single mother had a lot of trouble. He was a alcoholic since his teenage years. But one day he met a sant ji in Amritsar. This sant ji was a very powerful and influential man who was even blind. He changed my grandpa's life around. He stopped the alcohol abuse and began to become a true Sikh. He taught my grandpa Gurmukhi literally everything he knew. My grandpa shaped my Dad in the same way. My grandpa had to use force and it was a must and today; I guarantee he'll say he doesn't regret one bit using force. Later on this blind sant ji was killed during the attack on Harmandar Sahib in 1984. My grandpa told me he that he was told back then by sant ji that one day Sikh youth will suffer a lot following just the basic principles of Sikhism. Things will need to be changed if any progress wants to be made.

    I know it will be nearly impossible to have a sant ji like this talking in each gurdwara in the world and even get the audience to listen, but it is worth a try. These influential speakers can help parents even Sikh youth themselves find the right path for them. It takes dedication and devotion, but it is very hard in America where most Sikh societies are ignoring the Rehit Maryada. Sikh education can start at home though. Sikh parents have to take advantage of this. If Sikh parents know that their gurdwaras aren't properly helping Sikh youth learn, then they themselves have to take charge of it.
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    Abneet ji

    The reason for being militant is to make powerless people feel powerful... It works like a drug.

    My perceptions are based on 44 years as a teacher. Usually when you say "must," people either act out of obedience and then do as they please when authorities are not looking, or they rebel and do the exact opposite of the "must do." That of course means that rebellion is the only result, and it doesn't create anything worthwhile.

    It seems to me that the ideal would be to figure out how to encourage sincere talk within families, not talk forced by a sense of shame or guilt. Granted, many people do need to be told "you must." But then that was the favorite phrase of dictators.
     
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  14. Abneet

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    Yes, I see your point. It is indeed a hard situation for Sikh parents. I see Sikh parents that raise their kid teaching him everything, but the kid decides this kind of life is not for me. Parents have to make sure they understand why they were born as a Sikh. They don't have to use you must follow this or there will be consequences. Sikh parents can go slowly by teaching their children how to love Waheguru and what they can get out of it by doing paat and listening to Gurbani. They also have to make sure they enjoy this kind of life, the Sikhi life But like I said what if a Sikh child says I don't want this kind of life it's too strict and other excuses. Well I really don't know the step for parents on that situation. It is a really tough one to be honest.

    Sikh parents don't have a problem with their children and teaching them until they hit their teenage years. This is where it gets very hard for them. High school changes everybody's life and impacts them a lot. Sikh parents have to make their kids learn that they are a one of a kind and that they were born to stand out. Sikh parents really don't think this that they don't think their child in high school is going through any problems. Then there are Sikhs including myself that have self-coincidence and have no trouble going through issues.

    You can mention any flaws there are in this method. I'm trying to sort out the best situation for what Sikh parents should do without using the "force method".
     
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