"How long is your turban?"
I replied, "The short turban underneath is 2 metres, and the big turban on top is 8 metres of material which folded and then tied." The children reacted with "Wow"... "Awe cool." lol.
"Do you go to sleep with your turban on?"
I replied, "I don't wear big turban to bed. I carefully untie the turban and comb my hair before sleeping and then I tie the short turban (which is always underneath the larger turban) to keep my hair covered."
"What colour turbans do you have and what is your favourite colour turban?"
I replied, "I have black, navy blue, sky blue, saffron - in between yellow and orange, and a white turban. I usually like to wear a dark blue turban." You could hear the children speaking amongst themselves and saying which is their favourite colour. :)
"How long is your hair?"
I replied, "My hair when it is down, nearly reaches my waist." The children again were excited and looked at one another and said, "Wow" and "that's cool."
"What type of food do you eat?"
I replied, "Sikhs are vegetarians that don't eat any meat, fish or eggs. So, we eat lots of vegetables and lentils. We also have Chappattis to eat." This led to the children saying "I like Indian food" and "I like curry as well." Waheguru.
"Can you show us how you tie your turban and see your hair."
I told the children that I would show them how I tie my turban and comb my hair in the next few days but before I do they need to prove to be good children and show maturity and respect.
It was great to see how the children's reaction to me changed afterwards. For the next few days the children would get happy to see me and would shout "Sir, can I please read to you" and "Sir, can you please check my work." It was nice to see how the children who perhaps were scared or confused about the Sikhi Saroop, were now respecting the Sikhi Saroop. It was nice to hear one child say at lunch time, "Sir, I find Sikhs cool. I think Sikhism is nice." The Guru is Great and his Sikhi is Great.
On the fourth day I brought in some Dastaar material. I first showed the children how I tie a Dastaar. Before I started I got all the children to promise that they would behave and not touch the Dastaar material or touch my hair and remain calm. They all agreed and sat in silence. I placed a sheet on the floor and untied my Dastaar slowly. I showed my Kanghaa and how a Sikh combs his hair. When they saw my Kesh, it was nice that they appreciated that the Kesh were special and they all thought the long Kesh is beautiful.
Four volunteers were chosen and they got Dastaars tied on them.
It was so nice to see the children say "Sir, can I keep the turban on my head all day." I said that is fine. One person asked if he could remove his Dastaar after the session finished but all the other three children went to playtime wearing their blue and kesri dastaars. One girl's Dastaar came off as she was running! Waheguru! (She looked so sad with her Dastaar off!) But the other boy and girl had their Dastaars on when they came back from lunch. At home time the girl and boy asked if they could wear the Dastaar home as they really liked it and wanted to show their parents. So I said that is fine. Then other children (including a young Muslim boy) came and asked if I could tie a Dastaar on them so that they could go home wearing a Dastaar. As I only had two Dastaars left, I picked one girl and one boy and promised the others they could wear a Dastaar the next day.
It is amazing how much of a difference can be made if people go to schools or invite school children to the Gurdwara and talk to them about Sikhi and allow them to ask questions. I found that over the one week I spent with the children they learnt a lot about Sikhi and the biggest thing is that they learnt to respect and admire Sikhi Saroop and the Sikh faith.
Dhan Hai Guru, Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee.