When the term ‘name’ comes into mind, there are several other issues that come into thinking. One is the existence of reputation and another is the entity or identity that one tends to embrace especially in the context of determining one’s role in relation to the name that has been given to him. As a person is born into the world, the parents and/or guardians usually spend a relative span of time thinking what specific name they would give the new born child. Notably, such condition of thinking entails the desire of the people surrounding the family that makes up a child’s circle to define the personality or at least make a distinct identification for the individual that they want the child to grow into. Nevertheless, the family members know that they cannot direct the child’s life fully no matter how much they want to. Their desires would remain as dreams; something that can be true or at some point denied given the circumstances that they are involved in.
Question is, how important is it for a child to have the right name? Parents often decide on what to name their child based on different context of understanding the being of their child. For instance, there are parents who are specifically religious; hence, as a result, their infants copy biblical names such as Ruth or Mark or other names that follow identities of biblical characters. Others who may have a direct inkling to entertainment and popular culture may choose to name their children after famous individuals who have made a mark in the industry. Parents who are specifically involved in their familial lineage usually follow the pattern of the names of particular family members. They usually think of giving the family’s honor to their newly born children, allowing them to carry an important lineage that they think is highly important in determining their familial reputation. This is the reason why it is very obvious that there are some names that are considered extremely common in particular cultures and races.
In the long run, it would be the child who would determine the value of his name for himself. Considerably, the determination of a person to keep a good name goes beyond just living within the limits of his own given name. Most likely, it could be understood that every person is different from another; nevertheless, the name that they follow specifically gives them an option of whether or not to follow the pattern of life that the ones they have followed lead. For instance, if one is named Ruth, there is a connotation that that woman would become as loyal as did Ruth proved to be with Naomi [as noted in the common and famous account of her life in the Bible]. This is why there are instances when a person having such a name and cannot live by the standards of the personality it suggests are being asked ‘why are you like that? You even have that name’. Beyond one’s personal identity, a particularly given name to a person determines the pattern of living that one is given the chance to take.
It is a usual pattern for parents to take note of the hopes they have on the development of their children and how they are likely to mature into responsible individuals. Nevertheless, such hopes could only be proven futile if the children themselves see the importance of their identity in relation to how they personally develop as individuals. All the parents could do is to make sure that their children would be guided accordingly and given the chance to enjoy the life that they hoped for them to embrace.
Another concept of consideration that parents take into account is the condition by which they define the gender of their children. There are instances when the name ‘Alex’ is given to a girl. Such a name is traditionally considered as somewhat masculine, nevertheless, through time, the interchange of gender roles in the society has already changed the vision of parents as to how they would name their children according to their gender and the character that comes along with such identity. For instance, a girl named Alex is often expected to grow up to be a brave individual, a person who knows how to deal with life’s trials and distinct troubles that aim to develop one’s capacity to face the option of success and victory in the end. Would a person actually be able to contend with such expectation? Only she could decide upon such matter.
There are some individuals who are overly concerned about their names, while some others are simply not concerned enough about the matter. To set a comparison among these individuals and know more about how much they value their names, it is important to give attention to how they actually think about the matter. To examine the situation, an interview has been set accordingly. Three individuals were asked about their names and how they envisioned themselves having such identities tied into their being. One of them is a 12 year old girl named Alpha. When asked what her name meant, she said ‘the beginning’. She mentioned how her parents saw her as the beginning of their new lives. Being a child born out of wedlock, she mentions how much her parents’ lives changed and how they talk about it with her helping her understand that even though their lives have changed at the time that she was born, they knew it would be change for the better cause. When asked how she reacted to such deep meaning, she said that she did not know so much about its meaning until she reached the age of 11 when they discussed in school about the basics of family planning. She mentioned how this particular lesson in class allowed her to see things differently and to accept the fact that she is the ‘hope’ that her parents needed at the time. She was the reason why they are together and she hopes to be the reason why her parents would grow old together. It is because of this name that she has garnered a personal understanding of the real value that she serves in the family for her parents and for herself. Because of this, she wanted to prove herself, to be the hope that her parents actually need her to be.
The other individual asked was Chelsea, a 21 year old senior college student who traveled from China towards the States to study. The name Chelsea is what she calls her ‘international name’. Her original Chinese name is Jingfei which means ‘not quiet’. She says that her name was a patterned name from her grandmother’s grandmother towards her generation. All of them had the name ‘Jing’ as the first syllables. Her parents made sure that such identity is passed on to her as a mark of her being part of the family. Such a name made her think of herself to have belonged to her family ever since her childhood; it meant a sense of thread that connects her with her great ancestors. She further adds that it meant so much to get such an honor to be named after her great grandparents; it seemed to be an honorable sense of identity for her. The name Chelsea on the other hand was a personal choice of Jingfei. It has been a culture among Asians, particularly Koreans and Chinese individuals to carry on a different international name when they get out of the country. She mentions that they take such an option of changing their names so that others may not have a hard time pronouncing their names. When asked why she chose the name Chelsea, she said it was from an American film she once watched in the past when she was just a child. She loved the female character so much that she took her name and made it her own as she comes into the nation of the white people. She said how it made it easier for her to adjust into the culture of the Americans and become a part of the thriving community that she wanted to be enjoined with.
The last interviewee was Rudolf Valentine. He is a56 year old accountant working for a law firm in the city and is considered to be one among the best performers in his company. He smiles whenever somewhat asks of his name and simply answers ‘you can call me Rod’. He said that when it comes to his name, he spent years battling with the idea that he is a red-nosed reindeer with a matching bow and arrow and small wings that carried him out to hunt for lovers in Christmas. It was completely ridiculous, but he accepted the fact that this was the name he needed to contend with. Children, during his elementary days, cannot keep off from teasing him and calling him names. He said he survived such an era and learned how to deal with the matter in a much positive manner. Instead of getting pissed off with what others imply on him about his name, he learned to laugh matters out and simply make relative comments that would make it easier for him to relate to what others think of his name.
In relation to the discussion points presented in this paper and the experiences presented through the interviews, it could be understood that a name is something that cannot be simply set aside. It needs to be recognized along with the worth that it carries for the one owning it. A person may be given the worst name but could still flourish to be a better individual whose existence could be celebrated by those surrounding him and those who are directly involved with him. True, a person may be given different names, but it is him who would identify the value of such identity towards the individual that he becomes in the future.
The personality that one develops through time is what is considered important in the process of making a name. The decision of a person to be good or bad, to be productive or not, to be worthy of being called a good person, would be the basis of noting whether or not such a person has a good name. In a way, parents my give their children whatever name they may want to give them. In the end, it is their teaching and their guidance that would determine the real worth of such a name in the lives of their children. No one can ever control another, especially in making a name that is capable of defining one’s being and one’s worth as a person. Hence, given the chance to prove one’s self, it is suggested that one take the option of making a name and not changing one’s identity just so to be accepted by the society that he or she is living in.
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