When your name determines your life
A name represents identity, a deep feeling and holds tremendous significance to its owner – Rachel Ingber.
Integrity: A name is the blueprint of the thing we call character. You ask, what is in a name? I answer, just about everything you do – Morris Mandel (1911-2009), American educator and journalist.
SIR: The name an individual bears is a unique identifier that either brings honour or dishonour to the owner. The honour or dishonour a name bearer gets from their name is dependent on their deeds. An important part of a person’s identity is provided in his name as it suggests a sense of who the person is. One’s thoughts and behaviours may even be shaped by the name he bears.
Society will be in confusion and disarray if we do not bear names to distinguish one person from the other. Imagine if things (everything including anything) were not named, communication would be difficult and co-habiting with fellow human beings would be impossible. Assigning a name to an individual or something helps easy labelling and identification as it provides orderliness in a setting.
A name may also mean responsibility as everyone is answerable to their name. Being assigned a particular name comes with its own expected responsibilities. The onus of living a name and protecting it lies solely on the bearer as people will only remember the name on grounds of how well the bearer has taken responsibility of his identity.
How then can one protect his name? Answer isn’t farfetched – watch your actions! The Holy Scripture even affirms that a good name is more desirable than great riches; and to be esteemed is better than silver and gold. A good name here is earned by honourable behaviour, moral uprightness and integrity. An individual who protects and saves his name at the expense of riches surely understands the significance of name.
What a name stands for may be analyzed from two perspectives – cultural background of the family and the living reality of the bearer. The cultural background explains how a name is coined based on beliefs and tradition. The living reality of the bearer points to what is being done by the carrier of a name after christening.
Your name is not just who you are, it is your life. Until your name matters to you as your life, you have not placed premium on your name. You are not guarding your life if you are not guarding your name. Even if a life is lost, that name of the deceased still lives on. In the end, a name doesn’t die, only the bearer dies.
Kayode Solomon Ojewale is of the Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA.