Summer School for Sikhs

August 9, 2008

Author: Mirko Petricevic

Source: The Canadian Press

A couple of years ago Aman Tut’s seven-year-old daughter asked her if she could wear a Christian cross.

Tut was surprised because she and her husband are Sikhs. It was true they didn’t frequent the local Sikh temple, but that was because they both worked on weekends and temple worship services are usually held on Sundays.

Tut’s two daughters attended a public school where few of their fellow students were Sikhs. And they had learned about Jesus from their Christian babysitter.

So Tut’s daughter, Gurdeep, now nine, didn’t think asking permission to wear the symbol of Christianity was unusual.

"I thought we were allowed to wear a cross," Gurdeep recalled.

For Tut and her husband, however, Gurdeep’s request was a sign that they were neglecting to teach the religion of their family tradition.

"I’m not against any religion," Tut said. "But they (children) should know their own religion."

Tut said she didn’t object to the babysitter teaching her children about Jesus. In fact, she still sends them to the same sitter.

"At the same time, we thought we should do our part, too," Tut added.

So they enrolled their girls in summer school at the Golden Triangle Sikh Association temple near Petersburg, just west of Kitchener. It’s one of two Sikh temples (called gurdwaras) in Waterloo Region.