What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
William Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II
Hello, My Name Is...
The importance of our name goes so far beyond an introduction to others. Would that rose smell as sweet with a different name? Most likely it would, but would it hold as much sentiment in our world?
Our parents may have chosen our names to honor someone special, because of their meanings, simply because they liked it, or for a variety of other reasons. It is the value of our names that take part in giving us or identity.
Our names travel ahead of us.
Our names travel ahead of us. They trigger the first impression someone gets when they read your name or hear it spoken by someone else. How often have you heard someone read a name and then make a comment that started out like "(Name) sounds like a..." and go on to make an assumption of the person based on their name? We are probably all guilty of it at one point or another. It's not meant to be harmful, but it does prejudge.
The Uncommon and Mispronounced Club
Do you have a name that is uncommon and often mispronounced? Join the club! Our names are never on those premade name keychains or labeled toothbrushes. It bothered me a child, but as an adult I cherish the uniqueness of my name being uncommon. The mispronounciation is a different story.
In my case, my name is often mispronounced, especially when it is read, and interestingly enough, is often mispronounced after being introduced correctly.
In my fifty years, I have only met four or five other people named Rachelle. One in particular was a student I taught at a high school where I was contracted to teach a weekly Math/Art experience. On the first day of class, when I called her name from my roll, I stated my excitement at having a "Rachelle" in my class for the first time. She responded that only her family calls her Rachelle. She said that it had been mispronounced so often when she was younger that she stopped correcting people and the name Rachel evolved into being her name. Ugh!
Of course, I pulled her aside often through the year and discussed this with her. She confided that she had always loved her name and would correct people when they mispronounced it, but because of the extra attention focused on her when she spoke up about it, she preferred to let it go. The fact that she accepted what others called her even though it was not what she wanted to be called wore on me. It was yet another example of how fragile our self-esteem is and how easy it is to let others shape us rather than our own identity shape us.
The inspiration behind this prompt is about pondering our identity as our names have influenced. How has your name shaped you through your journey?
Join me in a journaling excercise reflecting over the meaning of your name and how it has shaped you over the years. Click the link for my free online journaling class below.
My husband and I have four children. Naming them was a privilege, of course, but also it was a challenging task. I am sure many of you parents can relate.
Because I was a teacher for many years, so many names brought up images of past students and even though those students warmed my heart, I wanted our children to have their own identity in my mind that was away from memories I had with those students.
If you are a parent, take this prompt and writing experience further by reflecting and journaling over your journey in naming your children. It may even lead to a fresh conversation with your children about why you chose their names. ♡
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