Good morning and how is Jermiah today? He had only ever met us once before on the ward. I was at my local hospital in the queue waiting to exchange the Green tea I’d accidentally been given instead of Peppermint tea. The doctor who had assessed my son for the first time two days before was standing in front of me. He turned and caught my attention. I was taken aback by the fact that he had remembered my son’s name.
Funnily enough, I instantly remembered his too because I had made the conscious effort to address him by name when he was assessing Jermiah-Lee in the ward.
I was quite taken aback by his question and I told him so. I let him know how wonderful it was that he had remembered my sons name and that I really appreciated him doing so. It made me feel that Jermiah-Lee was considered a person, not just a patient on a list of people to see. I felt as though he took a genuine interest in our son and that his well-being actually mattered. Unlike his name badge if I’d forgotten his name; he didn’t have any reminders or hints so it really was a special moment for for me.
What’s in a name? You might be thinking. To me; a name is valuable and important. We called our son Jermiah-Lee, Moses, Marvel Pascall because it translates as God’s anointed lion drawn out of water. There is power in his name, it means so much to my husband and I. Choosing powerful names with significant meaning is paramount to us. Every time you call your child, you are reinforcing that meaning. Whenever Jermiah-Lee’s name is called we are reiterating that he is God’s anointed. Now that’s powerful.
How does it make you feel when someone says your name incorrectly? Or if they call you someone else’s name, an ex partner perhaps? Or if they mix you up with another colleague? We all make those mistakes from time-to-time and that’s understandable. But, for me personally, it’s important to remember someone’s name and for others to remember mine.
Contrary, to William Shakespeare’s perspective, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Jermiah-Lee with any other name; would still be as sweet, of course he would. However, calling him and saying his name would have a whole new meaning and experience.
We are proud to call him God’s annointed. We believe each time we say his name we are reinforcing that he is a child of the most high God. Much like a self-fulfilling prophecy. We know if you consistently tell a person that they are selfish; eventually they’ll take that characteristic on board. Or if you consistently reiterate how beautiful a person is; in like manner that becomes a part of their belief system too.
It frustrates me when professionals call me ’mum’ rather than address me by my name ’Serena’. I mean what is so difficult about initiating conversation and then exchanging names. I’ve found that even when I’ve asked their name and told them mine; oftentimes they revert right back to addressing me ss ’mum’ uurrggg. It does annoy me and that isn’t to say that I dislike being called mum, not at all. But that title is reserved for use by my children. My name means ’calm and serene’ while I may not always display such characteristics it has impacted the way I conduct myself over the years. I’ve taken onboard what it means and I subconsciously apply it.
I always make it a point to ask the doctor, nurse or any person treating my children what their name is. In fact, even if I’m in the supermarket I make the conscious effort to say ‘thank you Margaret’ and address whosoever has assisted me by their name.
Names are important, they are our identity, we were given them to separate us from others and to establish our individuality within our families and wider society. Even identical twins have their own unique name.
If you are someone who works with the general public, particularly in a professional field, try it out, make the effort to address your clients, patients, students or whoever you are working with by their name. It makes a difference. Well at least it does to me.