A Father’s Day – For Some

amir

Amir, in March 2007

I have a great dad. He has always been there for me, spent lots of time with me as a kid, and I know he would do literally anything for me. He and my mom raised me with a lot of love and a lot of attention. I’m very lucky to have him.

Today, on Father’s Day, my mind is thinking of a group of kids on the other side of the world who don’t have fathers – kids I have grown very close to over the last few years, kids I love. These are the children of The Miracle Foundation homes in India. I woke up today thinking about them – and one little boy in particular, named Amir.

Amir is the sponsored child of my very good friends Leslie and David. He lives in the home outside Rourkela, in Orissa, run by Dr. Manjeet Pardesi. I first met Amir in March 2007; after arrival at Manjeet’s home, I sought out Amir to talk to him and get to know him; and also to let him know I was there on behalf of his sponsors, to let him know that there were people to whom he mattered. To whom he was special. It is a very powerful thing to walk into a place like this and say I am here for you, to these children for whom no one has ever come looking.

I found Amir, then  seven years old, who had an easy smile that turned down at the corners. He wore a sporty blue and orange shirt over a pair of shorts. He was very friendly and I could tell he wanted to talk, but seemed a little shy about it. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was a stranger or he was struggling with English, a new language for him.

me_amir

Me and Amir, March 2009

“Hi, Amir, it’s very nice to meet you.” I sat down with him and house mother Joyti to get to know him, Joyti translating my questions. What was his favorite color, his favorite food, who were his best friends at the home? He answered me easily as he continued to smile and his eyes darted this way and that, Joyti repeating what he said in English.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked. Like with all children, there were some pretty standard answers I usually got in response to this question. Teacher or police officer were the most commonly identified goals, although I also heard dancer, lawyer and social worker quite often.

Amir proudly displays a photo of his sponsor family

Amir proudly displays a photo of his sponsor family

Amir grew serious, and contemplated my question for some time. I could see him rolling it over in his mind, all the possibilities as he truly gave thought to what he’d most like to be. Then his eyes lit up and he smiled his biggest grin yet, and announced his response in Hindi.

Joyti turned to me. “He says he wants to be a father when he grows up.”

The answer hit me square in the chest. I looked at Amir, his sparkling eyes following the other kids around the play yard. This small boy who had no father, and yet his dreams were to be a father. Perhaps to know that connection and joy of family. Perhaps to love his own child and be the kind of real father that he had never known. Whatever the reasons, it was clear that Amir felt the gaping hole of what was absent in his world. He glanced up at me again before racing off across the red dirt to join his friends.

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blogtalkradioJoin Shelley today on Lit Media Reviews Radio Show as she discusses the release of The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India and the issues facing these kids. 4:30 pm CST.

You can also view the various interviews that have taken place over this past week, kicking off the Virtual Book Tour from June 15-30. Here is where you could find Shelley:

June 15: Wandering Educators

June 16: Hot Mommas Project

June 17: The Lost Girls

June 18: Wanderlust and Lipstick

June 19: Launch Notes

Monday’s tour stop will be at Surface Earth – check it out! Click here for a full schedule of the entire tour, with websites and blog stops, radio shows and podcasts, and magazines and book reviews.

Order The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India

About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."

Posted on June 21, 2009, in children, father's day, global, India, inspiration, nonfiction, nonprofit, orphans and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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