As a person who likes to write, and likes words in general, I’m always looking at the depth and meaning of words. A specific word that shapes our identity is our name. I’m pretty sure most of us can relate when someone says you look like ___ (some other name that’s not yours) and they want to start calling you that. If you’re anything like me you’ll probably respond “Nah, that ain’t my name”.
I’ve observed some people’s names are passed down through their family as a tradition. Others pick names because they sound good, or some want to be creative with a name. Then you have those who… I can’t trace their train of thought in how they came up with a name… but they set that child up for some unique conversations later in life.
Looking at a culture like Japan, you can deconstruct their names to seperate meanings, such as Ryuji can have different meanings, depending on how it’s written. Take some African communities and they take days before they’ll name a child because of the importance they place on a name. Both my paternal great-grandmothers we’re of Native American descent and have quite few names(like legit one of them had 10+ names).
From my worldview as a Christian, God places a lot a value on names, be it His own (Yahweh, Elohim, the numerous Jehovahs) or changing others (Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, etc.). Jesus Christ (JC) has many different names and titles he’s known by (Immanuel, Son of Man, its a lot). Names are important, to say the least.
Personal Case Study
I’m named after my father; for those who don’t know, A.J. stands for Alonzo Justin. At a young age, probably around 6 or 7, my dad actually walked me through the meaning of our name.
Alonzo is of Italian and Spanish descent meaning:
Alonzo means a lot to me; however, A.J. is the name I identify with the most because that’s the name those closest to me call me through the majority of my life. I’m borrowing a little from Japanese culture and combining their meanings. Taking my names together, I’m called to be a “warrior of justice” or a “just warrior.”
Now with everything that’s been going on in America with justice specifically, with race relations (black and white), I’m not going to dive into that right now. Not because I’m afraid to take a stand on one side or another. On the contrary, I’m with God(of the Bible) on how He defines justice, incorporating the totality of what it means to be just.
II’ll tackle the virtue of justice in a story I’m writing for the fantasy world I’ve been creating for the past 10 years. ‘Cause hey, I’m a storyteller, right.
Think Through It
My hope is you’ll take the time to explore the meaning of your name.
For parents, soon-to-be parents, or people who know soon-to-be parents, please, please, please don’t set the next generation up with some crazy names—lookout for the teachers who will have to pronounce them with both frustration and laughter. I’m not talking of ethnic names.
I’m talking to those who know that they know that they’re wrong. If you get offended by that last sentence, I’m talking to you. Don’t do it.
Thanks for reading.