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13 My son Does Not Listen To Me

A Canadian friend of mine came to pick me up from the Buffalo (New York, USA) airport. I was to attend a youth camp in Toronto. In the car, we talked about the Sikh youth and we felt concerned that many of them are not interested to know their faith and their great heritage. Both of us agreed that many youth do not care to listen to their parents. When we reached home, he asked his son to tell his mother to prepare tea for us.

Soon, the son came to the living room with a tray containing tea and biscuits. When he presented the tea to me, the father complained, "Baba Ji! He does not listen to me. Please tell him that it is good to be obedient to his parents."

This observation reminded me of our talks during the journey from the airport. I thought it advisable not to say anything against the youth particularly when he was offering tea to me. I picked up my cup of tea, thought for a minute and responded, "You should be thankful to God, Who has given you an obedient son. He came immediately without your asking and offered us water. Further, as told by you, he approached his mom, got tea prepared by her and brought it to us. What else do you expect from him?"

The boy was obviously pleased after listening to my comments. While sipping my tea, I continued, "Sonny, it is OK if you do not listen to your dad. He also does not listen to his 'father'. 'Our father', the Guru, says that a Sikh should recite Gurbani Nitnem regularly. Your father does not do that. Last time when I visited your home, he went on talking and talking meaninglessly with his friends. I had to go out in the cold to recite Rehras. Listen to him only when he listens to his 'father' and starts reciting Gurbani regularly."

On my next visit to their house, the same ritual of tea was repeated. When the son was offering tea, his father again complained, "Now I recite Gurbani, but still he (son) does not listen to me." Before I could say anything, his son smiled and responded immediately, "Baba Ji! Daddy does not recite Gurbani. He only pretends to do so just to show off to me, so that I listen to him." This gave me some time to think. I felt a lot of relief when the father immediately responded, "He sure is right. I just go through the ritual to show him that I recite Gurbani." Everything was said in a light mood and we had a good laugh. The message was very clearly understood by the father and he started reading Gurbani with devotion and love to obtain guidance from it.

The next time we met, the father had a long list of issues to discuss with me regarding the message of different hymns of Gurbani. When we were discussing Gurbani hymns, his son came and asked, "Daddy, my friend has invited me to join him for playing football. May I go there?" The father agreed, saying, "It is OK, be back by dinner time. Don’t keep us waiting."

The son after saying, "Thank you, I will be back before dinner," was putting on his shoes, and the father continued, "You were right. My son has changed a lot. He is, now, even more obedient and more respectful to me than I was to my father. He shares everything with me and keeps no secrets from me. I feel really proud of him. Reciting Gurbani with devotion has proved a miracle."

A few months later, the son started keeping long hair and tying a turban on his own. When they met me at our common friend's house, they were really happy. I congratulated the boy for keeping a turban, and presented him my recently published book, The Sikh Faith - Questions and Answers. His father observed, "Thank you for encouraging him. If we listen to the youth, they reward us by being obedient to us. They are very sensitive to any criticism. If parents become friends with their children, they can guide them better and save them from the wrong path.



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