Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What's in a Name

When I was little there was a boy my age who lived across the street whose name was Robin. I remember thinking, "What a funny name. Who would name their child a bird's name?"

Names are important. We grow into them and become them. It's how we identify each other, call to one another, and think of each other. In some basic yet significant way our names are part of who we are.

I started out as Kristie, named after my mother's friend who was a nurse. I didn't become a nurse, but... I do care about people. When I got to college Kristie sounded too immature and childlike so I asked my friends to call me Kris. I wanted to be seen as a grown-up even though my family still called me Kristie and I've pretty much stuck with Kris since then.

I wonder what would it be like if we never were given names? How would that change who we are, how we see ourselves, or how others see us? It's hard to image and yet sometimes I have a hard time remembering people's names. We all do it. It's embarrassing. I try to make a serious effort to put the face and the name together. Most times it works out, but I feel bad if I can't. And why is that?

Because names are really that important. Over time they become as much who we are as anything else. Using a person's name shows that you care enough about them to remember who they are. That they've made an impression on you. That they matter.

It's so simple. All you need to do is ask a person their name to let them know you care. That someone else knows they exist. And even if you can't remember a person's name after they tell you . . . you can always call them "Friend".

No comments:

Post a Comment