Why Bother Giving Your Name a Good Reputation?

Why Bother Giving Your Name a Good Reputation?

Recently, a young married couple I know had their first baby. Labor and delivery went well, but naming the baby was a little more difficult. Since they are both public school teachers, they did not want any “bad” history attached to the name they chose.

                               Names Come With A Reputation 

Names and reputation are intertwined. We associate people by their names and attach certain character traits to them as well. For instance, I’ve never met a “bad” Debbie. As a matter of fact, I have three friends with that name and all three of them have very kind personalities. I also associate kindheartedness to the name of Grace based on the character qualities of two former students.  

But, I was not a teacher when we named our own children. My husband and I chose names for our sons based on other people we knew who lived upright and respectful lives or from names that held a special meaning. For instance, our first born, Jacob, was named after a grandfather on my husband’s side. This man was remembered as one who possessed faith, fortitude, grit and endurance. Our second born son was named after a biblical character. Though I already had one son, I prayed for another one and when he was born, I named him Samuel which means, “asked of God.” Our last born son came during the season of basketball playoffs. One of the most outstanding players at the time was Michael Jordan and Jordan seemed like a most appropriate name for our last born. 

My parents named each of their seven children after a saint. I was named after Saint Therese, “The Little Flower.” But since Mom chose to deviate from the spelling by dropping the h from my name, I always believed it gave me the liberty to deviate somewhat from living out the pure and innocent life of the saint I was named after. 

Then there are the people who change their names all together simply because someone gave them a nickname that seemed to fit them better. For instance, I thought my husband’s real name was Luke until I found out differently. Before we married, we shared a house with several other people. One day, someone knocked on the front door and asked for Larry. I told them that there was no one by that name who lived at this address. As they were leaving, Luke drove into the driveway and greeted the person like a long lost relative. Larry was the name that only his family members knew him by. 

After reviewing a long list of names, the young couple finally agreed on a name for their newborn. This name did not have any “bad” history attached to it for either one of them and they both remembered the person’s character as being strong and honest. 

Why bother giving your name a good reputation? You just never know when someone will need a good name for a newborn. And if they remember yours as being reputable, they just might use it.

Why Bother To Consider Your Names?

Why Bother To Consider Your Names?

My parents named each of their seven children after a saint. I was named after Saint Therese, “The Little Flower.” But, my mom decided to deviate from the spelling by dropping the h.  This particular spelling confused my elementary school teachers, Catholic nuns,  who were used to the spelling Therese not Terese. 

Sometimes people want to add an a at the end of my name, but I’m not a Teresa, I’m just a Terese. Therese is pronounced, The-rese, with the accent on the first syllable, making the e long while Terese is pronounced with more of a schwa sound on the first syllable.   

Terese is not a name that you can shorten like Elizabeth to Beth or Deborah to Deb.  Sometimes one of my sisters will shorten my name to just T, usually when addressing me in an email or in a phone conversation in order to get to their point faster. When I order a coffee I tell the barista that my name is just T simply to make it simple for them.  

Oh The Names I’ve Been Called 

My step-father-in-law called me Trish or Sis. I know for sure it was his term of endearment for me. He’d lost his only daughter in a car accident and when he said Trish or Sis I think he thought of his daughter. 

When I got married, I was known as  Luke’s wife and not Terese. When our sons came along I was known by their friends as Jacob’s mom, Samuel’s mom or Jordan’s mom. 

While growing up, each of my sons called me Mom, and now that they are grown, they each have their own variation of Mom. My oldest calls me Mother, my middle son calls me Mom, and the youngest calls me Mam. I smile at all three. 

Hey Grandma, is how my granddaughter addresses me while my grandson has shortened it to just Grandma. My nieces and nephews call me Aunt Terese or just Terese. One nephew, a large young man, will call me Auntie T. I think it’s because I am his favorite aunt. 

My students call me Miss Luiken. They can’t quite get Mrs. Luikens out of their mouths.  More than once I’ve  pointed to my wedding ring telling them I am Mrs. When they understand that concept, then I’ll move on to telling them that even though my name ends with an s, I am a singular proper noun and not a plural proper noun. I know they’ll get it. The students I had last year and who are now in the fifth grade can now say, “Good morning Mrs. Luikens,” as they walk down the hall  to their classrooms in the morning. 

When I say my name to someone who has never met me before, they mistake me for the famous radio and TV broadcaster, Teresa Lukens. Close, but I’m not a famous personality like her. 

When we consider our names it goes without saying that we are called by a name in which the other person links themselves to us; T, Miss Luken, Trish, Mam, or Auntie T. I’m still the same, just in various formats. 

Why bother to consider your name? It is worth it because it is linked to your identity and how others identify with you. Hopefully, the names fit with who you are and you’ll find a few terms of endearment on your list.