Shakespeare’s famous line: “What’s in a name?”
Well, that’s a mighty fine question there, Will.
Have you given thought to name meanings? To your own? To your spouse’s? To your parents’ names? Have you thought of how their name meaning relates to them?
Did you give your child a name that you simply liked the sound of? Maybe you named them after someone? Did you look up name meanings, as well?
I know amazing people for every one of those ways, so you’re in good company, however it is you did.
In Biblical times, naming actually represented the divine right, or responsible power, over the namee, and by default, would, most of the time, respectfully fall to the mother. She would use a name reflecting a characteristic the child was already showing, or according to how the child made her feel, or (my favorite reason) what her hopes for her child were.
A lot of times, as proven in the Bible, the child fulfilled what his or her name meant.
A simple example, if you know the story, is Jacob and Esau. Esau means ‘hairy,’ and Jacob literally means ‘someone who trips you up’ or ‘trickster.’ Look how that plays out in their lives and in their particular account recorded in the Bible.
For me, personally, when it came to naming my children, the meanings behind them were incredibly important. I wanted them to reflect something I hoped my children would become; for, I’m a firm believer in the power our words have and what we continually say about and speak over others, especially especially ESPECIALLY our children. That includes the names, essentially the words, with certain meanings attached to them, that we give to our children and call them all day every day,
Both times, Jesse and I started with lists of names we liked the sounds of, and then looked up the meanings. If the name’s meaning was any sort of negative or even just generic, it got scratched off.
(derived from the Aramaic word ‘magdala’)
“High Tower, Elevated, Great, Magnificent”
“Graceful Lily, Beautiful Flower”
I remember when we finally agreed upon our daughter’s name, I stared at it so excited about what her name meant. About what we were naming her to grow into and become.
She is now three years old, and I can’t believe how much her name’s meanings fit her to a tee. She seems to stand out wherever she goes: in beauty, in speech, in favor. She is a definite leader- a high tower. She also, actually, moves very gracefully; she always seems to be dancing along wherever she goes. Just as her middle name suggests to her. Coincidence? I mean, I don’t think so.
Andrew took a long time to name. Jesse and I just couldn’t seem to find one both of us liked. He truly wanted to name our son Steve. Yes, Steve. Not Stephen, no… Steve. *eye roll* I obviously said no. I wanted Liam, he didn’t care for that name. He wanted this, I wanted that. Finally, we both liked Benjamin. At least we thought we did. One day, I was sitting looking at baby names for the zillionth time and I just knew that the baby I was carrying just wasn’t a ‘Benjamin.’ So it was back to the drawing board. I really, REALLY liked ‘Drew,’ but Jesse, again, wasn’t much of a fan. At this point, I thought to myself OK, we need to just go back to basics here. I’m of Scottish/English descent, so I thought of ‘Andrew,’ for St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, as well as Andrew, Christ’s disciple. (I was also secretly determined to get my love of ‘Drew’ in there somehow hahaha) From there, we looked up the name meaning.
‘Karl’ is Jesse’s middle name, named after his grandfather. I REALLY wanted my son to share his father’s middle name, and although Jesse had his heart set on our son’s middle name being after Jesse’s father, he finally agreed to passing on his grandfather’s name. I didn’t even look up that meaning until later, and laughed out loud when I saw both of my new son’s names mean the same thing.
So basically, Andrew is set to be super manly, hahaha, if he grows into his name, as it seems to go. I’m preparing myself for a lot of fire-building and hunting and stuff. He already loves cars, so it seems like he’s on his way. 😉
As I get to watch Andrew take the world by storm as the strong and determined man of courage he’s already becoming, I get to watch Maddelyn take it by storm being the beautiful leader she already is, joyfully dancing her way into people’s hearts.
Just as they were named for.
And just as they are, literally, called every day to do.
“Names have power.”
– Rick Riordan,
The Lightening Thief
How did you go about naming your babies?
Do you see their name’s meaning reflected in their personality at all?
What about you and your own name?