What’s in a Name?


There’s a reason why we have them.

It would seem in most cases that mothers and/or fathers spend months upon months coming up with something they feel they could name their child once they are born. Something that would understandably symbolize carrying on perhaps a bit of a legacy, but also pass on a sense of identity and individuality to their newborn. 

For some parents a lot of thought and care went into it, while others probably knew immediately what they would name their little bundle of joy the second they entered this world.

Either way the fact still remains that our names are a representation of who we are, who our mother and father are (or were) and our sense of identity.

Bear with us now because this is incredibly important.

Everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere, and that they have a special place to call home. It doesn’t matter what car is parked in the driveway, what watch is on your wrist or how much we cash in on payday.

We have talked so many times for so many months on subjects such as compassion, tolerance, acceptance and patience over things we can’t control.

If there was one outstanding start on how to go about that in perhaps the easiest way possible, here it is.

Use people’s names.

Yes indeed some of us become awful with names as we have so many people coming in and out of our lives on a daily basis, but that is beside the point.

We aren’t even talking about getting to know them personally, we are just talking about learning their name for cryin’ out loud. This is actually “Manners 101”, and it seems to have taken a backseat in recent years. Going into a brand-new year now seems like as good a time as any to discuss this, so here we go.

You can be bad with names, yet that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn someone’s name you interact with on a regular basis.

When we meet someone and they shake our hand and tell us what their name is, for God’s sake pay attention to what they just said. Don’t ever say such things as, “Oh I’m not going to remember that,” or dismissively say, “I’m bad with names,” like you don’t care.

In doing that the message relayed is that this person is perhaps lower than you, and you are not even going to take the time to even learn who they are. In other words, a bridge may very well have been burnt before it was even given a chance to be built.

Learning and using someone’s name isn’t necessarily about making friends. Much more than that it is about showing some common courtesy to someone that has just come into your life and has graciously introduced themselves.

Once again people, this is “Manners 101”, and this is not difficult at all.

If someone tells us their name and we didn’t quite understand, ask them nicely to repeat themselves. They will do it and probably are used to that if it’s a unique name.

God knows this reporter has been universally called every wrong name in the book over the course of his life. “What did you say it was again? Brett? Rex? Red? Brad? Rad? What again?”

When someone learned it correctly and proceeded to use it regularly from thereon out, there was definitely a strong sense of respect.

Maybe even a little trust.

The bottom line here is that if we can’t learn each other’s names and more importantly use them, there really isn’t much hope for building any kind of relationship that is based on trust or respect.

Friendship takes time and once again that’s not what we are talking about, we are talking about the basics which is common courtesy.

When we choose to use someone’s name, we are acknowledging them as a human being and an individual. We are in fact letting them know that they exist, they are alive and that they matter.

In a county with very small communities, with the most populated at a mere 7,000 people, there truthfully is no reason whatsoever why we can’t use each other’s names.

Referring to someone as, “hey you, guy” or something along those lines demonstrates not only a complete lack of common courtesy, but even a lack of intelligence.

For someone who was raised by a Vietnam-era Marine Corps Veteran, that might even be classified as being lazy when we can’t even take the time to learn something as simple as a person’s name.

Above all it actually has the utmost capacity to tell someone that they do not matter, they do not exist and that they are even sub-human.

When we choose to not address someone by their first name, we are actually doing something very degrading.

In towns like Torrington, Lingle, Fort-Laramie, Yoder or LaGrange where we take such enormous pride in courteous behavior and Christian values, refusing to learn and use someone’s name seems to be just plain unacceptable.

It is the most powerful yet simplest way to build someone else up.

If we have a loyal customer that gives us regular business that is valuable to our livelihood, the least or most we can do is refer to them by their given name.

If there is someone we work with in close proximity, have a little decency and tell them good morning by using their name at the end.

It should be, “Good morning, John.”  

That one bit of extra effort has the ability to build long lasting relationships, and earn us so much more respect from our peers and community members.

We care so much about our pets and address them by their names. Is there really a reason why we can’t use the names of our fellow human beings?

No. There really isn’t.

This one went in a different direction, but at times we do have to be honest and direct.

If we are to be in an area with good Christian and conservative values, learning and addressing someone by their first name is a fantastic way to show it.

Start using people’s first names. If you don’t know it or can’t remember it, then ask and start learning it. It will go unbelievably far.