The name

One random day, the following thoughts struck me:

The only thing a parent gives to a child from the very beginning is a name.  We all make our own decisions and go our own ways as we grow older, but most of us do not change our names.  And that’s where i see the power of the name.  We fight all kinds of labels as we enter and make our way into society.  Here is just an example of what someone’s daily mantra might be:  “I am not just a Catholic woman, i am not just a Puerto Rican woman, i am not just a hispanic woman, i am not just a woman—i am a human being.”  And yet we gladly accept the most existential label of all:  our name.  Why might that be?  We blindly accept it and don’t question it.  By the time we’re toddlers, we just know what our name is—what we are called, how we are labeled.  Does it not seem weird that we accept the most important label—our identity, in the purest sense of the word—from our parents?  But in a way, that’s what gives our names a curious sentimental history; the fact that they are the only thing given to us that stays with us explicitly from our birth to our death as long as we accept it.  Like a mystical gift from the man and woman who created us.

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1 Comment

Filed under philosophy

One response to “The name

  1. My family uses names as a link to the past as well. Our middle names (yes, we have two, each) are in honor of family and family friends that have passed. I did the same for my kids. It’s lovely to hear the story of “how I got my name” if there’s family to attach it to. At least, that’s what I think. 🙂
    It is like a gift, family, whether we truly see it that way or not.

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