WHAT’S IN A NAME?
What’s in a name?
I once heard of a story about a man whose name was like that of the king. But unlike the king, he was going round the kingdom causing every kind of mischief & havoc.
Word came to the king about this man and, without question, something had to be done. So the king summoned him.
The king kept it short and said to the man,
“You have 2 choices: you can either change your name or change your character.”
Is it a true story? No idea. But it’s true that it is story. And a useful one
A name is an essential part of a person’s identity. And, I think, it’s a little unfortunate, that we don’t get to choose our names so names are ‘bestowed’ upon us. This means, our parents and/or caregivers/guardians give us names of their heroes, hopes, dreams, personality and at times out of mere randomness.
So we end up with names whose origins may be inspiring and others .. not so much. Others had noble connotations until those that associated with it totally and unequivocally soiled them.
Imagine, for example, how Hitler’s relatives must feel — they may have been ok people but who will believe them now? The recent French presidential candidate .. Marine Le Pen .. well, for her, she is most assuredly as much of a bigot, racist, nationalist as her father. Definite lived up to her name.
I for example, have names from a grandfather who passed on before I was born. I assume they wanted me to help them (family) remember him.
My “English” name supposedly means “wise counsel” or the “noble one” .. my surname, a name given to one born during the day (was born in the early morning 😏) .. and my middle name means “son of a lion” .. (tattoo idea 😊)
Now, what’s in a name? Am I to own the name and live up to what they mean from their origin? Be a wise counsel?
Or are we predisposed to just be what our names mean? Do names have that much power over us?
Or can we give new meaning and reputation to the names we own?
And while on that, I should say, I personally find it a bit unfair to insist our children bear the burden of carrying on the “family name”. Where then is the child’s name and individuality meant to be?
I would rather have my child willingly choose to carrying my name on out of their own desire, admiration and respect rather than out of obligation. But, well .. naming rights I leave to the mother 😉 coz .. carrying a baby is something I think doesn’t get enough respect.
In Africa, like in Kenya for example, names have come to be used to place one to a tribe — a horrible practice that has led to all manner of ills when it should otherwise be a source of beautiful diversity.
How much a name plays into how we perceive our own identity or how other decide what our identity is, is, to me, sth to pay attention to or at the very least think about ..
What’s in your name? Are you a credit or a disgrace to your name? Does it define your identity? Should it?