Apple. Robin Graves. Sparrow. Pilot Inspecktor. And brothers, Stan Still and Sid Still.
What do these all have in common? They are names. Strange names.
One of my sons recently asked, "Do you think people basically become who they are named?" As I sat there pondering the question he added, "If you would have named me something other than Trey, do you think I would be someone else?"
After a few examples ran through my mind I answered best I could. "Well, I guess our names can affect us to some extent because they are words spoken over us, day in and day out. So, if your name causes you great ridicule at school, it would shape your perception of yourself. If you're named Bubba you probably wouldn't grow up to be a wimp. Actually, I've got to tell you a story my mom once told me about a man whose mother already had several sons and was hoping for a daughter...REALLY BAD! When yet another son was born to her, with some resentment she still named her son, Gwyndolin, her prized girl-name. Evidently, he went by Sam. Needless to say though, he was a bit of an odd duck. Furthermore, the Bible has gobs of examples of people whose names were significant. I suppose I'd conclude that, yes, your name does affect you."
To this Trey replied, "Why couldn't you have named me Awesome Dunking Guy then?!" Coming from a 6' 2" teenager who loves to play basketball, it was a really funny moment.* Trey tends to come up with strange and unusual thoughts often, but this one has stuck with me. What we hear ourselves called, day in and day out, matters.
If you hear affectionate words such as Sweetheart, Honey, and Babe, you can't help but feel loved. If you continually absorb words such as Jerk, Idiot, and well, let's just say "worse", they will also penetrate your heart, but in a devastating manner. Our words matter...significantly! What we call each other is enduring.
Parenting Confession #27 - I have called my kids names I wish I could take back. The Pharisee-half of my parenting tries to justify that it was alright because I didn't call them the forbidden "cuss words". But the Grace-half knows that it was the tone that I used that did the damage. Whether I'm half whispering, "You little TURKEY," through gritted teeth or silently rolling my eyes at them, they get the message loud and clear.
"The tongue has the power of life and death..." (Prov. 18:21a)
"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul
and healing to the bones." (Prov. 16:24)
What we call one another will ricochet in our minds for years to come. Therefore, speaking life-giving words is pinnacle! Names. They mean so much! Just as Marion Robert Morrison upgraded his name to John Wayne and Ethel Gumm morphed into Judy Garland, name changes are only golden if they are an improvement. This is why my phone says Daryl-Your Hot Husband when he rings not Daryl-Your Loser Husband. One word makes all the difference. (And "HOT" is true so that makes that one easy!)
And by the way, Dad and Mom, thanks for naming me Candi. I've always loved it. But I especially can't wait until my kids have kids of their own and I'm upgraded to GRANDMA CANDI! Best. Name. EVER! I'll have to have Smarties and Lifesavers in my pockets at all times just to live up to the name!
*Right away after Trey read this he said, "Mom! You forgot to mention that I CAN dunk the ball!" So, just to clear this up, he IS THE AWESOME DUNKING GUY even without the official name. :)