Sikh Child Indoctrination

Sikh Child Indoctrination

Question: Some people say children should be left to make up their own minds about religion. Do you agree?

BALPREET SINGH is legal counsel and acting executive director for the World Sikh Organization of Canada.

Spirituality and religion are deeply personal and each person has a right to choose which faith they wish to follow, if any at all. At the same time, it is natural for parents to teach their children about their faith and provide them with a spiritual foundation from which to grow and make an informed choice. Parents have the task of teaching and passing on values to their children.

Spiritual values are an important part of raising a well-rounded child. Religion often plays a central role in family life. It may influence the way a family dresses, what foods they eat, which holidays it celebrates, and how it views the world.

It would be impossible (and perhaps even irresponsible) to raise children in a family but isolate them from the family’s religious views. The children would be deeply confused to see a faith practised in the home but not understand why.

Sikh children are raised with stories of the Gurus and with the three golden rules of the Sikh faith: remember God, earn an honest living and share what you have with others. Each child must however make a conscious, personal choice to adopt the Sikh faith.

Individuals formally accept the Sikh faith by receiving Amrit or the Sikh initiation when they are prepared to make that commitment, whether it is as a youth or later in life. In many cases (such as my own), children may choose to be initiated even before their parents have made that choice. In other cases, children have decided that they cannot live a Sikh lifestyle and abandon the Sikh articles of faith like the turban.

While parents can raise their children with a faith, the ultimate decision on what role religion plays in their lives must lie with the children themselves.

Religious Opinion

Return from Sikh Child Indoctrination to home page