What’s In A Name?

photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I’ve given nicknames for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it’s just to shorten a multi-syllabic name.

Usually, it’s a term of endearment.

I’ve been quite attuned to people as I’ve given names. Some are short versions of their own; others are creative ideas because of who they are.

My grands have me beat. The names they come up with absolutely boggle my mind.

Our son and his family have been down to visit this past week, and his four boys are everything “boy”. Energetic, loud, playful, sweet. They’re also incredibly creative when it comes to ideas. Or names.

My husband has been “Papa” since the first grand came along. Easy to say, repetitious in a good way. Only Teagan has shortened it to “Pops” for his benefit–one syllable, quicker response time.

This past week, our Pennsylvania grands came up with “Johnny Shiskabob” for a name for John.

Not a name that is easily forgotten.

As to how that name came about, the muse for their musings, they had no clue. They just liked the sound of it.

It didn’t stop with John. Their uncle from Colorado was deemed “Uncle Cheesy Chips”, a name due in part because of his love for Cheetos.

Names are labels given to us by our parents to identify who we are. Past cultures cared more for the meaning of names than the sound of them. Today children are often named after a product rather than a moniker that has a family history.

William Shakespeare, who penned the quote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, was reflecting through Juliet that names often are burdens we carry because of how people react toward them. Romeo was a Montague; Juliet was a Capulet. Their families were at great odds with each other, an obstacle to their love.

Our names matter. We may not like them, some may make fun of them, others may not even pronounce them correctly.

Names are a reminder that we want–need–to be known and valued for all that our personal labels represent. In a dismissive culture such as our own, it’s easy to question our own value in light of what others say about or to us.

God knows us each by name; we are all created in His image. He doesn’t overlook or forget anyone; He can’t, for we are His workmanship. When God spoke to the Israelites, He addressed them as those who had wandered from Him in pride and disobedience and had turned their backs on Him.

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord WHO CREATED YOU. O Israel, the One who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have CALLED YOU BY NAME; you are MINE.’” Isaiah 43:1

He who created each of us knows us perfectly. Nothing is hidden from Him; His love for us reaches past our arrogance and self-centeredness to offer us His love. He calls us persistently; He pursues us relentlessly.

Out of love.

Nicknames are often terms of endearment.

Being called by God is more than love.

It’s love surrounded by full acceptance.

4 responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Johnny shishkabob. Love it. I remember calling him Johnny onnyorange. Who knows why, Dayle, Dayle-O, Dayliebob??? I love your nicknames…Pendleton, Pennpenn…as well as some that your kids have given me! Terms of endearment, indeed. ❤️


    1. Well, Princess PP, you’ve always been the one to love well. The Johnny Onny Orange has stuck for so long! What do you call Joe? Joey? JoJo? JoJo HappyFace?


  2. LOVE the creativity of the nicknames. Having little ones around brings so much joy (plus other things, but those are topics for another day 😂) I also love the reminder that God knows my name intimately and always says it with love and acceptance. You just gave me a breath of fresh air and lifted weight off my shoulders as I read. Thank you, dear friend.


    1. Oh, Ter, your words are a balm to my soul. Thanks for your encouragement. And I love the beauty of nicknames that kids give that means nothing but fun.

      Liked by 1 person

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