Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's In A Name?

What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title
-Romeo & Juliet Act II, Scene ii

It's quite a romantic notion, Juliet, but I'm not sure I agree. Yes, the rose would smell as sweet if it were called a forfrugtula, but how would that rose feel with a name like that? Maybe Romeo's dear perfection exists because of his name and not in spite of it.

I think that a name is a very crucial part of a person's identity. As a mom trying to give my children everything that they will need to become incredible members of society, I've pondered a bit on this topic. I'm drawn to names that withstand the trials of time. Names with ancestral or spiritual meanings are important to me when I consider who my children are now, and who I hope they will become.

Emma Elizabeth was named for two amazing women of spiritual strength. Emma Smith, the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, endured a lot of trials, had a lot of faith, and loved her family during difficult times. (You can read scanned, original letters between Emma and Joseph at josephsmithpapers.org. They are interesting, if you're into that sort of thing.) Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, conceived miraculously in her old age, was extremely faithful, and strikes me as a kind woman. I want my daughter to know that I think she is capable of being strong, full of faith, kind, and loving - as these women were. 

This little boy in my womb is getting the name Liam Michael

I desperately wanted to name him Michael and use my maiden name as his middle name, but my sweet husband doesn't like the sound of it. You need to understand that I loved and respected my paternal grandfather deeply and it saddens me that his line will not be passing on our surname to future generations. I feel like it's up to me to keep some sort of family name going. So I said to my sweet husband, "Since you don't want to use my maiden name for a middle name, how about a first name that is Irish?" He agreed. 

I pondered on the name Liam because it is short for William and there are several Williams in my ancestry, including my own father and my great-great-grandfather who came to America from Ireland. William means strong-willed protector, or unwavering protector, which is something I'd like my son to be. (Also, strong-willed, stubborn behavior is a given considering the poor kid has two stubborn parents.) I shared my thoughts with Barry. He instantly felt that Liam is the name of our son, and so it is. Michael is the archangel who led the righteous spirits in the battle against Lucifer during the war in Heaven. (Read Revelation 12:7, if you're interested.) The name Michael means "Who is like God?" I want my son to know that I believe he can be a strong-willed protector of his family, a reflection of his ancestry, and a faithful follower of God.

That, Miss Juliet, is what's in a name. So there. 


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