Recently, my six year old son was given an assignment to write about a holiday his family celebrates in December. Much to my surprise he chose the Shahadat (martyrdom) of Sahibzade (4 sons of Guru Gobind Singh in 1704). As a parent I was so pleased and yet curious at the same time. Here is how our conversation went:
Me: Why did you choose this topic?
Son: Baba Fateh Singh was the same age as me and he was so brave.
Me: How did he become so brave?
Son: He sang Sabad and loved Guru ji.
Me: How do you know he loved Guru ji?
Son: Because he always followed Guru’s Teachings.
Me: If I were locked up in jail without any food, I would be scared. Why was Baba Fateh Singh not scared?
Son: Because his Dadi ji (grandmother) was with him.
Me: Why did the Sahibzade die?
Son: Well, some people wanted them to change their religion but they loved their Guru.
Me: Why do we remember the Sahibzade?
Son: Because if the Sahibzade gave up Sikhi, then we would not be alive.
Me: If someone gave you the best candy and toys or even tried to kill you, would you leave your Guru?
Son: NO! Because Guru Gobind Singh is so awesome. I want to be like him!
I learned so much from this conversation with my son. Don’t think for a moment that children are not paying attention. On the contrary, they are very observant to their parents’ actions, language, attitude, behavior, and lifestyle.
It also gave me an opportunity to discuss the topics of death and ultimately the meaning of life. The fact that a child can draw parallel on age, attributes, importance of Guru, and Love reinforces the notion that one is never too young to reflect on life experiences.
Sahibzade are the ultimate role models to our children transcending time, age, and gender. They depict the foundational ideals of Faith, Courage, and Discipline we aspire to integrate in our lives. May we reflect upon our own resolve and attributes as we inspire our children to develop their Divine qualities.
Looking forward to the next conversation….
Pritpal Singh serves on SikhRI’s Board of Directors. He is a physician executive with Cigna and lives in Dallas with his family.