Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that despite age or experience in life, we are all living – breathing – humans, who question everything. The recent Jakara Juniors at Glen Rock Gurdwara did just that – fostering real, intellectual discussions in collaborative, group settings. I had forgotten just how fresh the minds of our younger Sikh brothers and sisters are. Topics we addressed ranged from Visakhi to Seva to poetry, from bullying to handling one’s emotions to women in Sikhi - and finally - from learning about the Sikh way of to then applying it to our individual lives.
The fluidity of our group conversations with such young kids was inspiring – sometimes they need these kinds of smaller breakaway camps more than we do. It gives them a platform where they can intellectually try to analyze Sikhi, they can share stories about themselves, and most importantly, they can share their IDEAS and brainstorm in a safe, welcoming environment. Two hands on project ideas that really stood out to me were the shabad translations as well as the seva project.
I was absolutely blown away by some of the students who really quite beautifully pieced together the words of Gurbani in order to make meaning out of it. While observing different groups try to decipher the meaning of a particular shabad, as if they were piecing together a puzzle, I realized that this was not just any activity – this was something that was meaningful to the kids.
The seva project similarly enabled a platform where students bounced ideas off of one another, used their phones to research different causes and organizations, and really worked together to come up with a thematic approach to their presentations. Different ideas of doing seva at the gurdwara, seva for sports charities, women’s organizations, environmental organizations, animal shelters and more – were all addressed and creatively explored.
Ultimately, I saw this small day camp as not just the coming together of Sikhs, but more so the coming together of awe-inspiring minds – both young and old and with fresh perspectives – to continue to flourish and discover how one grows and develops as a Sikh. Because really -- we never stop being learners right?
Take the opportunity to go and volunteer a few hours, or to register your kids – the mountains of discovery and personal growth that can be trekked in one day are well worth the effort. As a future teacher/professor, I (Puneet Kaur) can safely say that learning best occurs when communities come together to make it happen.
Till next time.
- Puneet is currently a graduate student for a Masters in Teaching (English & TSD) - and a marketing consultant. She is an active member of the East Coast sangat.