What’s in a name

Sometimes I sit and think about names.  What do they mean?  Snappy name combinations.  Funny names.  Things like that – very deep stuff, I can assure you.  For example, if we ever come to own a basset hound I want to name him Wilbur Fawcett.  I think that’s the funniest,  most appropriate name for a basset hound ever.  But naming animals is hard.  For me, I want to name my animals something fun.  Something different.  Something that fits their personality.  And I sometimes just want them to have names that are odd.  After all, Wilbur isn’t a name one hears much these days.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about names, especially since all of our animals are getting frisky.  We know for sure that one, if not both of our goats have been impregnated and will be due about the first week of December.  One of our ewe’s is coming into heat and if she is bred will be due around New Year.  And the donkeys are trying to have a baby too, which means a summer baby for next year.  Oh the excitement of new life.  But what to name everyone?!  I think it would be funny to have a baby donkey named Joash.  Think about that one for a minute…

Recently on Facebook one of my oldest friends posted some class photos from grade school.  I don’t know why I never really thought about it before, but I think he and I were in the same class from first grade up through sixth grade, and we had many of the same classes together throughout Junior High and High School.  What a fun guy, and I’ve enjoyed looking at all the old class photos.  But for the life of me I can’t seem to remember many of my classmates names, which is sad because I grew up with these people!  Thank goodness others have better memories than I do, and they’re willing to take the time to tag the photos.  One of the things I think has been most fun for me though is reading through all the names of my old classmates.  There’s not a Brittany or Lindsey or Paris among them.  We had down to earth names like Leroy and Amanda and Scott and Laurie.  I think I had the most unusual name among the bunch, and as a kid I hated being the odd man out.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain that my name is Brittan, and not Brittany.  Eventually I just gave up.  And even to this day I’ll generally not correct people if they get it wrong.  Why embarrass them; I suppose that’s what grace is all about.

As I read through those names and looked into those adolescent faces, I began to imagine what those names meant to their parents.  Why would they choose to name their child what they did?  Were these family names?  Were they names of a best friend who died in some tragic childhood accident?  Or were they just words that sounded good together?  My heart was saddened to see a few of my childhood classmates have passed on already, and I know that their names are even more precious now to the ones they’ve left behind.  And then I began to reflect on the names that I might have chosen if I’d had a child or four…

Names; they’re so very important.  They’re how we’re known.  They’re who we are.  They define our very character.  We don’t get to choose them, but we grow into them, and sometimes even grow to love them.  So what about you?  How did you come by your name, or the names for your children?  Have you ever wished you could change your name?  Or an even bigger question, have you ever wanted to change your child’s name?

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