Are Sikh parents holding their kids back by teaching them their native language? (by Jaspal Minhas)




Teaching the Punjabi language has been my central focus during my community project. I have been teaching children their native Punjabi language to help the little Punjabi children boost their reconnection with their culture. The primary aim of this volunteering activity was to help the children learn in their native language with the aim of teaching them their values and heritage. Through this learning, I also learned more about Sikhism and the values that it encompasses and stresses on. These values are then transferred to the children that I teach, to assist them to become morally upright people, with a strong understanding of their heritage and values. In my opinion, teaching kids their native language and values is ideal and I do not think that Sikh parents hold them back from assimilating fully in their country of birth abroad.

Kids are likely to be most proficient and dominant in their language as compared to other national languages. This is the language that they will enable them to offer quality language input which will, in turn, support their use of language consistently and effectively. Additionally, since this is the language that children will tend to understand more easily, they will tend to understand other languages also quickly but at the same time, their native language will be the core of all languages they learn. Per Children’s Association article, “If your child wants to study more languages later in life, she will have a leg up. The differences in sounds, word order, stress, rhythm, intonation and grammatical structures will be easier to learn” (The Pros and Cons of Raising a Multilingual Child, 2004). This then enables them to transfer this knowledge to their friends, families, and their future children. Through this, the Punjabi language will never fade, even if they go to study in other countries, instead, they will share this native language with others proudly and at the same time be ready to learn other languages as well. This exchange will enable them to assimilate to other cultures confidently because they will be proud to share their language and values as well.

Through choosing to teach children their native language, a message is being sent to them that their native language, history, and culture is as important to them as the western culture’s way of life, and language so that they can be more appreciative to their own heritage. It is, therefore, paramount to show the children that their heritage is important and they need to stay connected to it wherever they go. When there is this cultural, native, and heritage appreciation is enhanced, they will also feel indebted to it. So, even when they travel abroad or interact with people from other cultures, they will forever feel indebted to their own, they would practice the values that are instilled in them and therefore, they will never lose it. As Children’s Association article mentions, “Your child will develop an appreciation for other cultures and an innate acceptance of cultural differences” (The Pros and Cons of Raising a Multilingual Child, 2004).

When children are taught their native language and values, it is a way of opening a variety of cultural and business opportunities. Being bilingual is becoming widely accepted and preferred because of the need of addressing the different cultural values and meeting their needs. Additionally, business opportunities and the best business practices need people who have strong values and appreciative of where they come from. This is because if a person appreciates and acknowledges their culture and heritage, it will then be easy to appreciate and respect that of others. Thus, teaching kids their native language and values does not hold them back from assimilating fully in their country of birth abroad, but instead enhances their ability to interact with others confidently while at the same time enable them to fully assimilate their country of birth abroad.

The Sikh parents always want to instill positive to their children. These values are consistent with the Sikh religion and can be taught effectively using the Punjabi language. Through doing this, the parents will be protecting their children from the potential negative influences of the society through laying a stable foundation for enabling their kids to become better citizens. Therefore, if parents shy away from teaching their children these values by starting from them learning their native Punjabi language, they will not be fulfilling their responsibilities as parents. When taught at a young age, there is a high probability that they will carry the values with them through their entire life. Therefore, it will be ideal for parents to teach their children their native language and instill the Sikh values in them at a very tender age since it will go a long way in shaping their character wherever they go.

The Punjabi language has been the central aim of my community project where with the help of other Punjabi teachers, we teach the small kids their native language to help them boost their grades. It is paramount for children to know their native language at a tender age because they will be appreciative of it and will never lose it wherever they go. Additionally, the Sikh religion emphasizes some critical values that need to be instilled in people, more so, children, so that they can grow up with them and never lose them. Therefore, in my opinion, it is ideal for parents to teach kids their native language and values and I do not think that Sikh parents hold them back from assimilating fully in their country of birth abroad.

Work Cited

Children’s Association. “The Pros and Cons of Raising a Multilingual Child”. 2004. Accessed on November 24, 2016.


One comment

  1. McKell Barrett

    I read and reviewed one of your papers earlier this term and found your topic quite interesting. I admire that you feel so strongly about your culture and the future of the children engaged in the culture. I work with children and feel strongly that we as adults have power to mold them into individuals with beautiful minds full of knowledge.
    I did wonder where some sources are, as I would have loved to see some outside opinions on this as well! I think this would have added another layer to your project. However, I would like to thank you for doing what you are doing, all of your hard work will pay off!
    Take care,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: