I’m stepping out of my normal blog post space today (and a little out of my comfort zone 😉 ), and this is more of a post about some thoughts I’ve been thinking lately. Specifically, thoughts about names.
Names are powerful things. It’s not uncommon to have a book scenario where the character has a special secret name that only they know. And where the knowledge of that name gives anyone else a sort of power or connection to or over that character.
In fact, that happened in one of my book adventures this month—Knife by R. J. Anderson. Each faery has a secret name that they tell to no one, because if someone calls the faery by her secret name she must come and obey.
But of course, there’s always that one person who gets trusted with the secret name, because they’re a friend. And it got me thinking.
My name isn’t a secret, by any means. But it’s still special.
I actually had a few thoughts on this topic at a homeschool conference a while ago. We’d been to the conference before and met new people and had a heap of fun, then a year later the conference happened again and it was great to catch up with everyone again.
The thing that really suck with me, though, was every time someone used my name. Right now, I can recall at least a dozen snippets of memory that are solely when someone said my name—calling from across the room, or the group of friends, or just from right next to me.
Every time someone called out my name, it hit me. She knows my name. He knows my name. She’s my friend. He’s my friend. They care.
I very much doubt that any of those people saying my name had any idea how special it was to me. Just that tiny little reminder that they’re my friend and they care about me.
Not only then, but countless other times. It might seem strange, but I really notice whenever friends use my name.
Names are important. They might not be secret, but they are special. They belong to you and you share them with the people you meet.
Last names are similar. We use them to say “I belong with this family” and “These other people here? They’re with me.” I think that’s a beautiful thing.
It’s so easy to forget that a name is a precious thing, a little part of the person it belongs to. I know some people are very touchy about the spelling on their name, or the pronunciation. From the outside, it looks like “Oh, she’s just picky” but I think it’s much more than that.
Knowing how to spell and pronounce someone’s name—if it’s particularly difficult to do—means that you took the time to learn. You cared enough to take note and to remember.
If someone misspells your name over and over and doesn’t even seem to notice, it makes them look like they don’t care. Your name is a simple thing and if a person doesn’t seem to bother to get it right…It’s hard to trust them with anything deeper than that.
I’m fairly average when it comes to remembering names, but I really want to try. I get mixed up and confused and forget a lot, but I’ll still try and I get there eventually.
How a name is used can make a big difference. It can be an encouraging, special thing—a reminder that you care. Or it can go the other way and show that the person doesn’t matter enough to you for you to remember even that smallest piece of them.
I definitely want to use my friends’ names the first way.
I’ll wrap up there, but I’m curious. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you feel the same way as I do? Have you thought about this much before?
And if you haven’t introduced yourself here before—hello to you. My name’s Jane. What’s yours? 🙂
[Small note: I’ve decided to change my posts from Fridays and Tuesdays, instead of Mondays. Just letting you guys know.]