© 2014 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
When I was young, my mother had a passion for knowing the names of plants. I used to joke that to Mom, all the world was a quiz show called “Name That Plant”. I didn’t get it. This game caused me stress. Driving along any road, Mom would exclaim excitedly, “oh, I bet that’s a plantium whatchacallium!” Only she used the correct name for each plant. Even as a high school student, I was baffled by the need to have names for plants. By age 15, I had seen Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues for the essence of things, over the importance of what they are called:
What’s in a name? A rose by any other name
would smell as sweet.
~ William Shakespeare
However, there’s ample evidence that names are actually very important.
- In the Bible, God gave Adam the job of naming all the creatures (Genesis 2:19). So to God, names were important.
- In Native American tribes, people received new names at different stages of life, as they developed different qualities. Little Squirrel might become Running Deer by his teen years, even Soaring Eagle by his adult years. Names were equivalent to character.
- In most cultures, names are preserved after death, on headstones, in family Bibles, and in Church registers. The wealthy may give a building to a university or a wing to a hospital, to be named for a departed loved one. The person’s memory is preserved through their name.
- Recently, I heard a youth ministry team talking about what they had learned in serving at facilities for the homeless in Los Angeles. One speaker reflected on what struck her most vividly as the team worked at Alexandria House (www.alexandriahouse.org). This organization “is a non-profit transitional residence and house of hospitality providing safe and supportive housing for women and children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to permanent housing “. On her second day, the speaker called a child by his name, and he was riveted with joy. He felt greatly valued, that someone who had just met him would remember his actual name. The speaker said her takeaway was that kids with nothing deeply appreciated their names being remembered. A child’s own name was one thing that could not be taken from him or her.
- Famed business motivator Dale Carnegie was a huge fan of using people’s names. He said you would long be remembered by high-ranking people in your organization, if you simply introduced yourself by name. Also, Carnegie taught that you would go far with those who worked for and around you, if you used their names regularly. He said:
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
~ Dale Carnegie
Juliet was certainly right that essence is important. But let’s keep the names. Names and essence work so well together. Who knows? Even a plantium whatchacallium may appreciate its real name being used.
● Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition (http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc). She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister.
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- Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br).
- Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core (Second Edition) (http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc)
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