Monday, April 24, 2006

Not much to post!

Well, not been able to blog or have very limited internet access right now. The motherboard just died and probably would have to buy a new computer. There haven't been much to post either. May be its a sign that blogging has to slow down or stop or need to be more active outdoors and put Sikh things learned so far into practice. There is so much to learn in Sikhi that even a single lifetime won't be enough. I guess need to live it more than to think it or know it. Millions of thoughts, ideas, and wishes come and go about Sikhs and Sikhi stuff almost everyday but I can't remember not even one of them at the moment. They all seem so good at the time. Sometimes I wish I could do an instant download for posting later.

Oh yeah!, one of the thoughts was to post something about Sikh parents as to how challenging the job of Sikh parents is to raise kids in a non-Sikh environment, teach them Sikhi and Punjabi. Sometimes I get amazed as to how are some of the parents are able to instill Sikh values in their children keeping in mind the social pressure of TV, media, non-Sikh cultural environment, peer pressures, their own insecurities etc. They sure deserve a lot of credit which is often not given in the media including Sikh media. These are kind of parents that have been bringing Sikhi to where it is today and for keeping it alive and are helping shape Sikhs of the future. I have heard stories of Indian and western Sikh parents teaching Punjabi everyday to their kids in their early childhood. Punjabi teaching was kind of taken for granted in Punjab or may be still is but here in the west it is a challenge to keep interested in Punjabi given the outside pressures. Anyways, I am hoping to continue to blog, but probably at a much slower pace. Who own these blogging posts though?

I just read this on Sikhnet and would like to add the link to the post since it is related to Gurmukhi learning:


Blogger deep said...

It is hard to raise a Sikh child in a world of mass maya. I think it is doable though. My wife and I, on the birth of our first child, decided this was very important. We eliminated the television from our house, and began learning Punjabi in earnest (we were both raised in the west and neither of us was fluent by any means). Since our children were born, we have only spoken Punjabi with them in the house. To this day it feels very strange for me to speak english with my son. In addition we always translate all of our books into Punjabi while reading them. This was quite a challenge for us given our limited language skills. In addition, we bought many Sikh children books, and spent a lot of time reading them, discussing them, and saying prayers with the kids. We have also made a point of spending atleast 6 weeks every couple years in Punjab. This was really important as my son began refusing to speak in Punjabi - after 6 weeks playing with his cousins, he realized it was not just his parents who speak this language. Now he complains his Paji's aren't here to tell him any Punjabi jokes. Spending time in Punjab also helped re-enforce his view of Sikhism; he was thrilled to go to Anandhpursahib where the Guru of his books had fought and prayed.

I have also thought about making this task for parents like ourselves easier. When we started, most people in our community thought it was funny that two kids raised here could attempt to raise their kids speaking Punjabi when their own skills were so bad. They often teased us -- saying the kids would forget it all before their 5th birthday. The teasing just made us all the more determined. Now they all get a kick out of speaking w/ our son and hearing his authentic kid slang; the elder generation talks about teaching their grand kids, and some of the younger generation have chosen a similar path. Having age appropriate books, videos, etc. would help quite a bit. We have had to go to Jallundar and come the bizaars just to find good books, movies, etc.

1:23 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Thanks Deep! Your story is really inspiring! If you guys, especially having being born and bread outside of Punjab, can teach your kids Punjabi/Gurmukhi then it should be easier for both Parents from Punjab. Also, what are some of the books, videos and other tools that you have used for teaching kids. I just read this on Sikhnet and added the link to the original post about kids learning Punjabi.

2:22 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger deep said...

For books there are a number of cartoon like books; one for each of the Gurus - you can find them in Delhi in any book shop in Connaught Place. Occassionally we find something in the Punjabi section on main street in Vancouver. There is a beautiful book on Guru Nanak published recently in India though I can't find it here; all the pages are hand painted by a famous Indian painter whose name I can't recall now. For videos, there is this kids video on Hindi that Nayan has watched hundreds of times; it's extremely well done. In Jallandar and Chandigarh you can also find select popular movies dubbed in Hindi. We have purchased titles like Stuart Little, The Harry Potter series, etc. Again, sadly, there are no kid realted videos in Punjabi, either here, or in India that we could find. In Punjab, most kids are fluent in Hindi, and Punjabi is not treated that seriously (its sufficient of kids speak it, no need to read and write it too well). Here, most people just don't seem to care enough to expose there children to Punjabi, or if they do, it is very casually and not treated with the rigor, or the all encompassing environmental esposure required for children to be truly bilingual.

5:31 PM, April 25, 2006  

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