The Day I Found My Name | Evelyn Knight | TEDxYouth@FranklinSchoolOfInnovation | Summary and Q&A

September 22, 2023
TEDx Talks
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The Day I Found My Name | Evelyn Knight | TEDxYouth@FranklinSchoolOfInnovation


Evelyn struggles with losing her identity, navigating cultural expectations, and empowering her children to choose their paths.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ Cultural influences and conflicting expectations can contribute to identity crises.
  • 🤳 Self-discovery and perseverance are crucial in reclaiming one's identity.
  • ❓ Empowering others to choose their paths fosters individual growth.
  • 🥺 Defying societal norms and embracing authenticity lead to personal fulfillment.
  • 💨 Challenging traditional beliefs and roles can pave the way for success.
  • 🥡 Taking ownership of one's narrative empowers individuals to shape their destinies.
  • 🥰 Supporting loved ones in pursuing their passions fosters personal growth and fulfillment.


[Applause] when I was 26 years old I lost my name I took my son to school one day and I found that everywhere I went at his school I was just Bronson's mom but I didn't have a name I later took my youngest school to the pediatrician and there I was ronan's Mom but nobody knew Evelyn I I decided I really needed to see somebody who knew my name so I ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Evelyn's upbringing and cultural influences contribute to her identity crisis?

Evelyn's mother's conflicting messages about being a perfect wife and mother while also pursuing education and career created inner turmoil for Evelyn, causing her to struggle with her own identity.

Q: What inspired Evelyn to overcome societal expectations and empower her children to follow their passions?

After experiencing loss and realizing the importance of choosing oneself, Evelyn embraced her role as the author of her own story, encouraging her children to live authentically and defy conventional norms.

Q: How did Evelyn's son challenge societal norms by choosing entrepreneurship over traditional education?

Evelyn initially struggled with her son's decision to forgo college but ultimately supported his entrepreneurial ambitions, showcasing the importance of empowering individuals to pursue their passions.

Q: What message does Evelyn convey about taking control of one's narrative and identity?

Evelyn emphasizes the significance of questioning societal norms, shifting paradigms, and actively choosing to be the hero of one's story rather than succumbing to traditional expectations.


In this video, Evelyn shares her personal experience of losing her identity and the journey she took to reclaim it. She discusses the conflicting ideologies she faced growing up and how society's rules and projections from others can shape our identities. Evelyn emphasizes the importance of choosing oneself and questioning the paradigms that define us. She also shares her story of supporting her son's decision to pursue entrepreneurship instead of going to college, highlighting the need to challenge societal expectations. In the end, Evelyn realizes that she is the author of her own story and encourages others to do the same.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Evelyn lose her identity?

Evelyn lost her identity when she realized that everywhere she went, she was only known as someone's mother or wife. This made her feel like she had stopped existing as an individual.

Q: What conflicting ideologies did Evelyn face growing up?

Evelyn's mother, who immigrated from Honduras to the United States, had two contradictory ideologies. On one hand, she believed that Evelyn had to be the perfect wife and mother. On the other hand, she also believed that as Americans, they had to make something of their lives and have a career. This confusion left Evelyn torn between trying to be who she thought she had to be and who her heart wanted her to be.

Q: How did Evelyn reclaim her identity?

Evelyn reclaimed her identity by choosing herself and not allowing others' projections and opinions to define her. She decided to paint her own life image and be true to who she truly is.

Q: Why was it important for Evelyn to choose herself?

Choosing herself was important for Evelyn because she realized that if she didn't, she would lose everything. It was a way of finding her own voice, taking control of her life, and not becoming a victim of the story others wanted for her.

Q: Why did Evelyn support her son's decision to not go to college?

Evelyn supported her son's decision to not go to college because she realized that societal expectations and rules don't always need to be followed. She wanted to stand by him and allow him to be authentically himself. She believed in him and wanted to encourage his entrepreneurial aspirations.

Q: What shift in paradigms does Evelyn encourage?

Evelyn encourages questioning the paradigms that society imposes on us. She questions why teens feel the need to go to college right after high school, why people believe they have to start at the bottom in society, and why certain beliefs about success and career paths are so ingrained. She urges individuals to challenge these paradigms and write their own stories.

Q: How did Evelyn's son's entrepreneurship journey turn out?

Evelyn's son's entrepreneurship journey has been a success. At 19 years old, he hit his one-year anniversary in business, achieved complete financial independence, and even hired his first employee. His achievements demonstrate that societal and parental expectations don't always dictate one's path to success.

Q: What realization did Evelyn have after her husband's death?

After her husband's death, Evelyn realized that she is the author of her own story. She understood that she can choose whether to play the victim or the hero in her life's narrative. This realization empowered her to take control and embrace her true self.

Q: What does Evelyn encourage others to do?

Evelyn encourages others to question the beliefs and paradigms that currently define them. She urges individuals to become the authors of their own stories, taking ownership of their lives and embracing their true identities.

Q: What is the significance of knowing one's name, according to Evelyn?

Knowing one's name is significant because it represents knowing one's true identity and being genuine to oneself. It is a symbol of reclaiming personal agency and not allowing others to define who we are.


Evelyn's story illustrates the importance of choosing oneself and being true to one's own identity. We are often influenced by societal expectations and the projections of others, but it is crucial to question these paradigms and write our own stories. By taking control of our lives and embracing our true selves, we can achieve personal growth and fulfillment. Letting go of external pressures and defining our own identities allows us to live authentically and find our own paths to success.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Evelyn recounts feeling lost and nameless as just a wife and mother, realizing she needed to rediscover her own identity.

  • Growing up with conflicting cultural expectations, she felt torn between societal roles and personal desires.

  • Through perseverance and self-discovery, Evelyn empowers herself and her children to define their own paths and identities.

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