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  • Writer's pictureKirk

My Name is……

There is a universal truth throughout the world among people. The basic need to feel like your life matters. Sometimes that can be a very difficult thing if you're living under oppressive conditions. And, if nothing else, people want others to know their identity. They want others to know that they exist. Even if it's only their name


This hit home with me recently with the events, taking place in Israel and Gaza. When I saw the interviews of some of the relatives of those were taken hostage by the terrorist, the relatives always made sure that the names of the people who were held hostage were put out there before the news. They wanted people to know that these were individuals, people with names, people, with identities, and people who mattered.


I have seen this in my travels. I have seen where the most important thing was that their name be known. And time and time again, if I were to mis-pronounce their name, I was immediately corrected. It was important that the name they were given be known correctly.


I was visiting a children's home in India in an area of deep poverty. These children did not have a lot going for them other than the home they shared together. But their future is one of uncertainty and most likely severe hardship. In a sea of people it is easy for a child to be lost. Especially in India, which is now the most populous country in the world. Especially in a place like this, where they are living without parents and the many children vie for the attention of the few adults who oversee them. They may have little more to cling to then their very name.




The children here live their lives in conformity. They have a very regimented existence that borders a military style at times. It is required to operate this facility efficiently with such a low ratio of adult to child. But it's easy to see they long for more.


In a field of many faces, the individual wants to stand out to be counted as unique:




I saw a mixture of personalities in this setting. From children who would just cling to me and call me Papa, to the children who were being very loud trying to get attention, to those who were quiet and reserved because they were resigned to their situation. They were conditioned by their environment to act as they did.


But the one thing they all shared in common, is the desire to let their name be known:



While there, I tried my best to make the individual feel important. I would especially seek out the most quiet of the group, to engage them in conversation. A few really broke my heart when I could see the deep sadness they harbored. Those were the ones I wrote down their names and was sure to write letters to when I returned to the USA. At one time I was writing 20-25 letters every week to send internationally. I was deeply motivated by knowing the smile on their face when they were handed the letter.


I know that seems a small thing, but it is likely few in the world know the joy of a single letter delivered to this remote area of the world. Especially when it has their name on it and it comes from the USA. Just a letter recognizing they exist and matter as an individual child. Names matter.

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