When I was pregnant and people asked me if I had a name for my baby yet, I told them that I didn’t have a name, but she had one picked out and had let me know years a head of time. It was Phoebe. This is her now:
She is totally a shining light. When she was four years old she told me she wanted to be a prophet when she grew up.
For several years now I have taught pregnancy yoga, and I am surprised by the number of people who have difficulty naming their children. “Have you asked them?” I would say. In a pregnancy yoga class where we don’t just squeeze the kegels but also chant mantras and talk to our babies, that didn’t seem like a weird thing to ask. Many women were surprised though. They hadn’t considered asking the baby or that the baby could really tell them.
“Just ask,” I said. To some of them I said it again and again. “Just listen.”
I gave this advice to one friend, who wasn’t that into spiritual stuff, and she just looked at me like I was crazy. But about 3 months later, she sent me a once sentence message: “She told me her name.”
The story: She was laying in bed and she heard a grown woman’s voice say the name and she knew it was her child. Chills. That friend is much more spiritual now.
There is scriptural evidence that the importance of your child’s name may way deeper than whether they will be teased at school. In the Bible Dictionary, under “Names of persons” it says:
“The numerous passage of holy scripture in which reasons are given for bestowing a particular name on any person show that the Hebrews attached great importance to the meanings of their names….”
Do you know that the meaning of your name is? Your children’s names? Is it an aspect of God?
“In the O.T. special reverence is paid to the name of God, as representing his person and character. In many cases a Hebrew personal name was composed of (1) one of the names or titles of God (2) a verb or adjective, forming together a simple sentence, such as Azar-iah, the Lord hath helped…..” it goes on with more examples.
I recently wrote two posts on the many names/titles/aspects of God and how calling on the right name used in the right context can have more awesome results than using other names. [Read the first post here.]
When it comes to naming our children, it seems that many of them have names already picked out, and if we listen, they will tell us. In fact, these kind of pre-birth announcements are so common that in some cultures there is a name for this sort of thing pre-birth announcement.
Does it really matter if you child is Sofia instead of Grace? Maybe not. But maybe. Names are seed mantras. They plant a seed in your subconscious mind that will take root and grow. Even if a person doesn’t consciously know the meaning of their name, there is a collective unconscious (that we are all tapped into) where it is known. Each time a person says your name or you say it, you reinforce that meaning. Especially if you say it after the words I AM, which is also a name of god, and happens to be (in my opinion), the two most powerful words in the universe, because anything you put after them becomes reality after enough time.
I was at a Gift of Giving Life Party in Arizona and one blunt, hilarious woman flat out said, “I know my 3rd got the wrong name.”
So what if you feel that happened? Or maybe you feel like your name doesn’t suit you?
I say it’s okay. Everything happens as it should. In truth, we are all aspects of God, and our names reflect that. Sometimes a wrong name becomes part of a person’s journey to figure out who they are. I had two ancestors who hated their names and legally changed them.
As divine beings we, like God, have more than one aspect. And as we grow and change we will take on different names and titles and aspects. Brother, sister, husband, wife, friend, teacher, nicknames, aliases, wishful names. Perhaps your daughter (or son) will change their last name when they marry. Oooh. Or maybe they will hyphenate. There is something so cool about a hyphen, the way it marries two words.
And then there are the new names–not just the new name one receives in the temple endowment. In fact, God frequently renames his servants when they reach a certain level of advancement on the path to fulfilling their sacred contract. I recently received a new spiritual name, and if you want, you can read about it here.
In one culture I read about in the Australian Outback, they don’t celebrate birthdays on the day they were born, they decide when they have been through a significant change in their life and then let the tribe know and everyone celebrates their rebirth. Along with this comes a re-naming of themselves. By this standard one might have a birthday only once in 5 years and then 2 in a year. And a new name each time, too.
What has been your experience as you have contemplated what to name your children?