What’s In A Name

17 Feb

*I will be revealing Tiger Cub #2’s name in this post, but you will have to share in my ponderings of what’s in a name first!

Naming a child is, I think, one of the greatest responsibilities there is.  According to Dictionary.com, a name by definition is:

a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known.
We are known by our name.  Our names inherently give an insight into who we might be as a person.
Now, I have known people that don’t seem to fit with their name and I have often wondered why that is.  Someone with a plain name, who is anything but plain.  Someone with a strong, assertive name who is generally more a wallflower.  Maybe because in our culture we often choose our children’s names before they are born; before we get any tangible idea of who they are.  After watching the movie, The Namesake, the way a child is named in traditional Indian culture has stuck with me.  They generally wait 2-3 weeks after a child’s birth and then hold an elaborate naming ceremony.  While this is not what a process we engage in, (I can’t even wait to name my children until they are born!), I find the measures they go to in carefully selecting a name, after knowing the child a bit, fascinating.
I don’t think that babies are blank slates when they are born.  Ask any mother of two or more children and they will most assuredly tell you that each child was unique from the moment they held each child, some before.  I can say that I can honestly tell a difference between my two boys already just from carrying them in utero.  From the first flutter I felt of Micah, it felt like he was always active.  When he moved, there was no questioning that it was him and not some random intestinal movement.  He has continued to be a forceful personality that brings joy and life, and often ragged parents at days end.  Our newest little tiger seems to be a bit more reserved than his big brother.  It took a little longer to know for certain that I was feeling him move.  He tends to move much more fluidly and less frequently than Micah.  I get the unmistakable sense that he (at least for now) seems to be a calmer soul; laid-back and cool.  We will begin discovering if this is indeed his personality bent in early June, and I eagerly await, wondering if my inclinations are correct.  My point is that we are each born with a distinct personality that is further shaped and formed as we grow and experience life.  So whether you name your babies early, like us, or wait until birth day, or after, you are helping to shape that child, as they will be known.
Not a task to take on lightly or without thought.
Our process is a pretty standard one for most Americans.  We each come to the table with favorites and lists and we compare, discuss, veto, and gag over said names, until we have whittled the list down to some top contenders.  When Aaron and I were first married and discussing our future that would include children, he mentioned to me that his naming requirement was that the names of our children be Biblical.  Huh?  Yep.  He said he would not consider a name if it did not come out of the Bible.  While I didn’t agree, I was not shocked, as he was at the time aspiring to be a pastor like his father, (he is a pastor now, fyi).  It took me awhile to come to terms with that little stipulation, but we didn’t have to revisit the topic for almost three years, so I had some time to adjust, and to come up with a counter-measure or loophole.  =)
When the time came in 2009 to begin the name selection process in earnest we had some new insight into what was important to us as we began to select the name of our firstborn son.  What we figured out was that the name in and of itself, while important, (we will never have any Tony Tigers), was not as important as the name’s meaning.
We decided that we not only did we want the name to mean something special, we also wanted to ground the name or its meaning in Scripture, which for us is so central and vital.  It’s hard to recall the exact process that went into selecting Micah’s Scripture, but it becomes easier when your name is a Book of the Bible!
Micah’s Life Verse (that we have chosen, for he may choose another,) is Micah 6:8 (NIV)
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah's Life Verse
This is a verse we love and is important in our United Methodist denomination.  We pray and hope that we can be good stewards of Micah’s heart and that he will love God and that these will be tenets he lives by.  We think they will help produce a pretty upstanding young man, who loves and serves others in humility and grace.  Micah means one who resembles God, and as we hope he has a heart like God’s, we thought it fit.
And finally, the reveal!
Tiger Cub #2 was a surprise for us!  We knew we wanted more children, but the when and how many had yet to be determined.  God had other ideas, and as His timing is perfect… Here we are excited to welcome our second baby boy in June.
Aaron refused to even begin discussing names this time until we found out the sex of the baby.  So I happily compiled lists of both boys and girls on a handy iPhone app, and we prayed for a healthy baby.  We obviously found out there would be no pretty purple tutus this time either, but rather a baby brother for Micah to pounce on.  So the name game began.
I read my list, and Aaron tried to stomach my suggestions and threw back his usual sturdy, conventional choices, like James.  (Nothing wrong with the name, just not my taste.)  There was a bit more freedom in the selection this time as we knew from the start that it was the meaning that mattered rather than the source.  After a few weeks and draft rounds, we had the top names selected.  And then we just couldn’t come to an agreement.
Back to my searching I went, determined to find a name.  I like calling the baby by their name and having others do the same, as it makes them a more real person, earlier, as opposed to just her/him/baby/ or it..eek.  Again, my opinion.
I got excited over a few new names I had come across and I had to call him at work just so he could start mulling things over.  He takes awhile to mull.  I don’t.  See the problem?!
Needless to say, my plan worked!  He came home and was ready to discuss the new names.  It was just like before with Micah.  The top name just spoke to both of us, and while we still took some time to make sure, we knew in our hearts that we had a winner!
I knew it when the Scripture verse presented itself to me one morning.
Our second son is Kasen Cross Tiger and his Life Verse is Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Kasen's Life Verse
The Scandinavian form of Kasen means pure.  It feels as if the name and verse fit this budding child who seems so calm.  We hope he can be someone who brings the goodness of God’s love and beauty of life to all he meets.  He is already a constant reminder of the goodness and glory of God’s plans in our life.

5 Responses to “What’s In A Name”

  1. leannepenny February 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    so lovely and intentional! I think all children should have a name with a meaning, whatever that means for their parents and family.

    • Heather Tiger February 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

      Thank you friend! And I whole-heartedly agree.

  2. ellencrawf0rd February 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Naming our daughter was such a challenge, especially since we couldn’t find out her gender before she was born. I love the name Kasen!

    • Heather Tiger February 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks Ellen! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Emery February 18, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing this journey. Both of your boys have wonderful names and will undoubtedly someday treasure this blog.

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