May 20 – Indian? Punjabi? Sikh?

300/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  This is not about a person but about an entire group of people.  Today, as the chair of the teachers’ Professional Development Committee, we organized a day of being exposed to and understanding the different cultures that make up our student population.  Of course, we could not hit every cultural/denominational group but we focused on three:  Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh.  We traveled to the mosques and temples and I learned so much about the Muslim and Buddhist faiths that I had no clue about before.  But the greatest learning I had was of my own heritage – the Sikh culture.  Our guest speaker couldn’t be there but fellow Punjabi Sikh staff members stepped up and totally schooled me!  I had no clue of their knowledge level about our background and what a background we have.  Perhaps I didn’t learn so much as rather, I was being reminded of my Punjabi Sikh heritage which is truly rich and multifaceted.  I am the first to admit that I have shied away/been embarrassed of my (ethnic) Indian background growing up in a very ethnically similar culture until the last decade or so and I haven’t even thought about my cultural/religious background ever and how it has shaped the man I am today.  I can truly say today that I am proud to be a Punjabi man – albeit, the atypical Punjabi man but I am so very glad that I have a rich cultural background where we live large, love large, give large, sacrifice large, and celebrate large.  I didn’t realize until today how fortunate that I am to have this amazing heritage with its rich traditions that I love being a part of.  To all my Punjabi Sikh family, friends, extended relatives, students, and strangers – so very glad and appreciative that I am a part of this wonderful, unique, collaborative!  I love being ethnically/religiously/culturally diverse!

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