We are mirrors and we reflect to our daughters

| Opinion | 29 April 2017 | Asia Samachar |

Over the past few years, I’ve written a few articles suggesting ways of bringing up my three princesses in the more liberal ways of life, infused with the beautiful essence of Sikhi where relevant. One such article, written two years ago, was about the conundrum a parent faces when their loved offspring decides to alter their religious paths for the love of another. In simpler words, when a child of ours converts into another religion through marriage.

I had suggested, so much for myself as for the reader of my article, that love and compassion should always be the answer when faced with such a challenge of divergence from our early dreams and plans for our children. I had hoped that the uncertainty of our futures to dictate how we react when faced with such challenge was also apparent in my article.

It is easier said than done when my girls are still at a very young impressionable age, and we have this arrogance that we can still stem the tide and assume it won’t happen to me and my wife. ‘We can still mold them’, we tell ourselves rather unassumingly.

But really, how much can we, as parents, effect the process of maturity that our children go through these days? These are the days of such rapid interchanges of knowledge and information, good and bad, of grey areas more than the black and white, of flux by nature. Our children are far more advanced and intelligent than we ever were, but also much more easily influenced with emotions and heart.

I had written that perhaps showing my girls the beauty and spirituality of the essence of Sikhi would grow strong foundations of their affection for Sikhi. For them to affiliate themselves as good decent human beings, first and foremost, and then to affiliate themselves as highly spiritual beings. This perhaps can damper and avoid ideas that would conflict with their ideals, averting conversions to their direct opposite ideals and beliefs. But words spoken can only be absorbed so much than the intended message. Lecturing never really worked for many of us.

We reflect what we want our children to be, like mirrors. They mimic our actions from a very young age, and those actions slowly form their thought processes, which will form their beliefs and their principles. A child will follow the father’s action of hitting her sisters. Her thought process would be of violence when she isn’t getting the attention she warrants. Her beliefs are of that violence is not a bad thing. Her principles would be that the use of brute force works. Of course, I’m simplifying this grossly while completely discrediting years of psychological studies. I apologize for that. But it’s an example to illustrate my point. Child sees, child do. Child grows up.

For my daughters to fully appreciate the humane and compassionate essence of Sikhi, they need to mimic me and their lovely mother. We both must not only exhibit outwardly what a Sikh should look like and practices, but we need to imbibe fully into the humane compassionate essence of Sikhi, complimented with discipline to preserver and not waver our principles in the face of adversity. In other words, we must be kind to one and all, always loving and always caring to another human no matter the background, and not fear repercussions for being so.

What can those repercussions be if we are only loving and caring? In life, choices are to be made all the time to which ‘side’ we belong to. If we are loving and caring to all, there are no ‘sides’ to choose from. But we are expected to, and if we don’t choose, then either or both of the ‘sides’ will take exception. And then there will be repercussions. A part of being a steadfast Sikh is to be fearless in the face of these repercussions, and remain being loving and caring to all. It’s easier said than done, even amongst our own Sikh community. Even today. Remaining neutral, brotherly to all, is a very fundamental part of the essence of Sikhi because we are to see One in All.

To live this ideal, to be this true version and not just an outwardly portrayal to my girls, we would have to be as natural as possible, within the confines of our safe home and outside interacting with society. And this is where the challenge gets a tad interesting. We have our faces to front society, developed for decades as we grew up as matured adults. And if these faces aren’t exactly the ideals that we want our daughters to have, then change is required. This change cannot be radical, because it would be disruptive to both parents and children, but change needs to happen. To ease this change, one approach may be to associate ourselves with others already imbibed with the same ideas and principals. Very much like the intellectual will have dinners with other intellectuals, or businessmen having a drink with others. Speaking the same lingo, driving behavior and slowly changing the nature of our thoughts and actions. This is also another fundamental aspect of the essence of Sikhi. This is Sanggat.

As I’ve written many times before, both my wife and I have our work cut out. We must try our best bringing up three precocious young girls to be strong willed, independent and spiritual princesses. They will grow up to be Queens in the eyes of the Sanggat, I pray.

Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com


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