Where did your name come from? From a family member or someone important to your family? Out of a book? Do you know the meaning of your name? If you do, do you draw meaning or strength from it from time to time?
In many traditional cultures, names have often been accorded almost magical properties. Stories and folk tales across millennia and cultures have lifted up the power of names to create, empower, and destroy. (Rumpelstiltskin – Tom Tit Tot in the English version – loses his claim to the baby prince when the child’s mother learns his name.
We may not have retained the beliefs of ancient cultures about the importance and power of names – what they can reveal about us and what they can invite us to aspire towards – but there is still a sense of responsibility that comes with naming someone or something.
In bestowing a name, we inform a new character and identity. We invite a new purpose and destiny. We say something about what we think this thing we are naming is, where it comes from, where or to whom it belongs, what we hope it will become. Naming is an act of courage, faith, trust, love, and creativity.
Unless you have children, perhaps the most important things you get to name tell us – and you – something about who you are: your principles and values, your goals, your purpose, the ground on which you will stand.
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