Naming – A Conclusion

June 4th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

We’ve all heard it said: “The ego is a fragile thing.” True. I think deep inside, we all wonder: Am I good? Worthwhile? Do I measure up? And I think whatever is deep in there – your soul, ego, whatever you want to call it – is incredibly astute. Nothing gets by it. And with what it sees, it is brutally honest. So, though it longs to be full, it will not budge on the emptiness it sees. All of us.

I’m no psychologist. Not a licensed therapist. Just a dad “groping in the dark” to give words to my experience. And my experience confirms the validity of the term, a fragile ego. It is this fragility that makes it important for us as fathers to call our children by a good name.

Here are some things I’ve tried to keep in mind:
• Be very careful with my words. Period. They are very difficult to take back.
• My role is to imprint (part of naming) on them who they are. Calling them and reminding them. My goal is to establish and fortify an identity resistant to the many forces that contribute to its fragility. Important categories to establish are: Value/worth, Character, Innate – Gender and Ethnicity, Beauty (not just physical, and not just feminine), Skill/Gift.
• No negative identifying names: Dumb, ugly, liar, mean, lazy, worthless … and the list goes on.

Here’s an example:
One of our kids went through a period of telling lies. This child we discovered was gifted at it … they, the lies just rolled off the tongue. It was so tempting to call the child a liar. Instead we said, “You are meant to be true. To be honest. You almost always tell the truth. This lying is unlike you. It’s wrong.” Take the time to be careful with your words. Remind them who they are. And do not negatively name them – in this case a liar.

Fathers have the awesome role of naming a child. Give them a good name. And keep on naming them. Call to remembrance who they are until they believe you. When they do, you will have strengthened them to remain true to who they are amidst the torrents of life that will surely come upon them.

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