I’m very lucky to have been involved in Sikh Gurmat camps for most of my life – as a camper, counselor, and administrator. Along the way, I’ve collected many stories. My friends have always told me I should document them. So here’s another addition to the series I call “Camp Stories.” Please comment with your own story too…
Camp Story #5: What We Do
Okay, I’m going to take a break with the camp stories for a while, but I thought I’d leave you with a good one. I’m cheating though…this wasn’t actually from a camp, but a Sikh history class I taught many years back at the local Gurdwara. My group of kids were between ages 6 and 8.
On the last day of class before Summer break, I gave the kids a test covering everything they learned during the year. The kids were nervous, but they all did a great job and finished ahead of time. Since I couldn’t let them out too early, I gave them a quick exercise to do. In addition to Sikh history, we covered a lot of Gurmat – so I decided to ask them a simple question – the first thing that came to my mind, “What do Sikhs do?”
They all started writing their answers and one by one they handed me their paper and were dismissed from class. As I waited for the next student to hand in their paper, I started thumbing through the ones I had already received. Here’s what some of them said:
“A Sikh is someone who does Kirtan”
“A Sikh is someone who listens to their parents”
“A Sikh is someone who goes to Gurdwara”
“A Sikh is someone who treats others nicely”
“A Sikh is someone who keeps their hair”
I was so happy with all these great answers. Finally, the last student came up to me and handed in her paper. I quickly took a glance at what she said and it was one of the funniest things I had ever read. I fought hard to hold it in, but as soon as she walked out, I exploded in laughter until it hurt!
I have a folder at home with all the student’s papers from classes and camps I’ve taught at. And recently, I came across the very paper this student gave me so many years ago. And when I opened it up, it was just as funny as when I first read it. There it was in perfect handwriting…
“A Sikh is someone who does pot”