Monday, April 18, 2011

What's in a Name?

When we were expecting each of our children, we took quite a bit of time choosing a special name for each of them.  It wasn't easy to agree on names.  For one thing, we each had our own notions about each name that we came up with.  After being careful to avoid family and friend names, past girl/boy friends, arch enemies; we eliminated a lot of possibilities from the name pool!  We didn't spend a lot of time looking up the meaning of names; we were more concerned that the names sounded nice and didn't bring up some sort of bad memories, or didn't somehow "label" them from day one!  With our first child, we had a hard time agreeing on a boy name. I finally got so frustrated with disagreeing about the names that I told my husband that if we didn't agree on a boy's name, that when it came time to deliver the baby, I was going to send him out of the room and I was going to name the baby "Bubba" while he was gone!  Of course, I wouldn't ACTUALLY have named the baby "Bubba", but I did want to make up a name that was shocking enough to get us back on track in the baby-naming department.  I don't know if that's what did the trick, but we did finally agree on a very nice name! 

I recently heard about a Names list that is circulating on the Internet.  The list contains the top 10 Boys and Girls names that fall in three categories:  Naughtiest, Brightest and Most Popular.  I first heard about this while listening to a Christian radio station.  I was surprised at myself as I listened intently to see if either of my children's name was on any of the lists.  I secretly hoped that neither name would be on the "Naughty" list, and that both would be on the "Brightest" list.  I really didn't have an opinion about the "Most Popular" list.  As it turned out, one of my children was on the "Brightest" list, and neither was on either of the other lists.

I spent some time in the days after that broadcast pondering this topic.  Now, these lists were compiled by teachers who say they can tell how the pupils will be in their classrooms based on their names.  I have had some experience with this and have found that I have certain expectations that go along with certain names.  Sometimes it only takes two people with similar qualities in your life for you to start saying, "Well, you know how 'Mary's' are...".  I know this isn't fair or rational, but it still happens!

Then I started wondering if it was possible that a child would walk into a classroom, and a teacher would already have a preconceived notion about how they would behave. It seems like it would be a good thing to be on the "brightest name" list, but if they have a "bright" name, would they get the help that they needed if they struggled in some subjects?  Would they get treated fairly if they have a "naughty" name?  Would they be isolated from the others if they had a "popular" name?  I am sure that all depends entirely on the teacher, and I would hope that no child would miss out on a positive learning experience because of it.

The more I thought about it, the more I found to think about.  If you look through your Bible, you can find lots of instances where a lot of importance is placed on names.  Some people were given a certain name by their parents because of something that happened before the child was born.  When Sarah was told that she was going to have a baby even though she was very old, she laughed.  When her baby was born, she named him "Isaac", which means "laughter".  Some expectant parents were told by God that their baby had a special purpose or commission and He told them what to name their coming baby. Joseph was told by an angel to name the baby "Jesus" because "He shall save His people from their sins."  "Jesus" means "Savior/Deliverer".  Some people of the Bible even got their names changed by God after they were adults.  These name changes would often show that something had changed in that person's life, and God had a special promise and plan for them. Abram's name was changed to "Abraham" which means, "father of a great multitude".  Jesus changed Simon's name to "Peter", which means, "rock" and then told him that "upon this rock I will build my church;"

Even God has many different names throughout the Bible, and each one reveals something different about each of His many awesome traits! So you ask, what's in a name?  Quite a lot I would say!

God Bless!

Isaiah 9:6 ~ "...and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

Matthew 1:21 ~ "...and thou shalt call His name JESUS:  for He shall save His people from their sins."

Philippians 2:10-11 ~ "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth:and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Romans 10:13 ~ "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."


1 comment:

  1. Kelli with an I. My family still imagines you with one eye.