Monday, March 8, 2010

National Celebrate Your Name Week

This week is National Celebrate Your Name Week in the U.S. I love names and naming things. One of my favorite things about spring is when the barn cats deliver their kittens and we come up with names for them. We give them names that all start with the same letter or rhyme (Sallie, Callie, and O'Malley). Or names that go with their mother's name (Holly, short for Halloween Cat has had babies named Bones, Shadow, and Jack O'Lantern). Or we name them all a category (one litter or four males were bestowed with the names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

But as much as I love naming animals, choosing names for my kids rocked my world. What pressure to choose just the right name! What power! What fun! We liked unusual names that weren't weird or unpronounceable. We checked to be sure the initials didn't spell out unsavory things. We looked up meanings to be sure we weren't sticking our kids with a less-than-desirable prophecy to live up to (I mean, who willing names their daughter something that means "hairy woman with no teeth"? Or their son something that means, "girly man who is scared of bunnies"?) I love my kids' names and have never wished we had chosen something else. But the older they get, they are making their own names. They are developing their own reputations and histories with the people on their journey. Not only do people form opinions of them as people, they form opinions about us as a family and about anyone else who shares our last name.

In the book of Proverbs, it says, "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold". I don't think it is talking about having a name people like or giving your kids the most unique name you can make up. Rather, I think this means what people think when they hear your name. (A funny story--when our mutual friend told me David had asked about me, I asked what his name was. We had a lot of mutal friends, but had never met before. When I heard his name, it was familiar, but I seriously thought he was a drug dealer. He wasn't. And isn't.) But that is important for us and for our kids. When my kids go to a friend's house, they are a reflection of me. When my kids play sports or perform musically, people look at their name on their jersey or in the program and make a mental note of who they believe them to be. My desire for them is that when someone hears their name, they will smile. I know we can never please everyone we come into contact with, but they need to do whatever is in their power to have a good name.

That's how it is with us as adults too. What names do you wear? Mom? Dad? Sister? Brother? Wife? Husband? Friend? Daughter? Son? Christian? Do people smile when they hear your name? Do you have a "good name"? Maybe you were given a common name--can you live so you will stand out for good? Maybe your family name has been tarnished--can you change the perception by the way you live your life?

Decide today who you want to be--then start living it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for participating in Celebrate Your Name Week! A big part of the fun of CYNW is in getting to know how people are celebrating it. What a great way you found to celebrate! Thanks again with all best wishes.