Names are like tattoos. They are with you for the rest of your life, and there is a story behind them. Sometimes the story is very deep and profound. Sometimes the story is as simple as, “Oh, I just sort of like this one.” Whatever the case, they are indelible marks on us.
Our family takes the act of naming our children very seriously. We give it a lot of time and thought. We want to give our children names that tell a story. Not just any story, but the story of our family’s journey.
The names of our four current children, commemorate significant ideas, places and people that have shaped our family. Reciting the names of our children tells the story of the journey of our family. For example, our first daughter’s middle name comes from an epic waterfall we used to hike to when we lived in Oregon. Many great moments and memories were shared at that waterfall, and we recall them every time we speak our daughter’s middle name. Our third daughter shares a middle name with her mother and grandmother. This generational continuity with the middle name signifies our value of connecting the generations of our family.
It’s not just the past that we have in mind as we choose our names, but the future as well. We think of our hopes and dreams for our children, and choose names that point to the future we see for them. Our son’s first name speaks of a humble strength that is used to help and serve others. He is only 2 years old now, but we already see the kind of character forming in him that is consistent with the idea to which his name refers.
We never want our children to forget who they are, where they have come from or where they are going. So we often talk with them about the meaning of their names, and we tell the stories of how we came to select those names. We hope that this storytelling acts as a kind of “north star” to help keep them on their course in life.
We’re in the final few weeks of this pregnancy, and still pondering names. We actually have a solid name in mind if the baby turns out to be a boy. We’re still searching for a girl name, though. We’re not stressed about it. We have to wait to meet the baby before we can fully settle on a name.
Giving a name is a sacred act that should be approached with great reverence and care. We are laboring as hard over our fifth child’s name as we did over the first. We now know more about where we’ve come from and where we’re going as a family, and we intend to capture more of that story in this next naming.