Showing posts with label Name. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Name. Show all posts

Sunday, November 26, 2017

What's in a Name?

Remember the question "What's in a name?" from Shakespeare's play Romeo & Juliet. (Juliet argues, it does not matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague). This dialogue 'What's in a name?' from the play Romeo and Juliet, has been immortalized in our regular conversations, when we quote it wittingly for making an argument; names are secondary, qualities are primary.

Last week, few of us (colleagues) had been on a team lunch, to socialise & bond with our home-based employees, as we don't get opportunity to interact in person with them, on a daily basis. All of us, being in similar phase of life i.e. parents with young children, we were asking each other, names of their children and what was the meaning of their child's name. It was fascinating to come across so many unique names and profound meanings, which has roots in our rich heritage, culture, history, religion, mythology and ancient language Sanskrit.

Like all engaging conversations leads to different layers of discussions, this too wasn't different. My colleague Rizwana, asked me "Abhi, do you believe names have an influence on a child's (person's) behaviour and personality?". [Thanks Riz, your question became the impetus for this blog :-)].

It would be fun, if before reading further, you take a moment and try to formulate your opinion -
"Do you believe names have an influence on a child's (person's) behaviour and personality?" 

Welcome back! after the commercial  thinking break! I hope by now, you have your own opinion to the question asked by Riz :)

For now, this is my opinion: May be...

Thinking loudly here, let me elaborate....

We all (me included) spend lot of time in selecting names for our new-born (either our children, or children for our extended family and friends). Google search, visiting websites, consulting a pandit (counsel), calling up friends/relatives, combining alphabets from father's and mother's names, etc, etc, are many of the frenzies, we enthusiastically engage in with so much of love, affection and excitement, for shortlisting probable names for the new born child.

Few of us, mostly likely would have known at least one friend/colleague/relative/acquaintance who have legally changed their birth name, during their adulthood. There are of course, so many well-known artists who have two names, one for their creative profession along with their birth name. There are also instances, of people and celebrities, modifying their names by adding or removing an alphabet (possibly advised by a numerologist, to bring in success). 

The process of giving a new-born child a name, the sustenance of interests in their names, by so many people into adulthood, strongly suggests, names holds a very special meaning for us (probably, it's across all cultures).

If we didn't believe in the significance of name and if name didn't have a special meaning for us, would be devout so much of emotions and time, while selecting a birth name and for taking the trouble of modifying/adopting a name?

In continuation, to our conversations over lunch, Riz humorously asked me "Do you see Maharaja like behaviour in Kanishk?" (my eight year old son, who is named after King Kanishka a second century Kushan king, a patron of Buddhism who spearheaded the spread of Buddha's teaching).

Here's how the name was given to him. The Guruji, of my wife's family suggested us to keep our new born son's name starting with the alphabet क (K) [don't ask me why? not because I will get offended, it's because I also don't know :) The closest answer I can get to is - it's a cultural thing].

Me & my better half, have lot of affection for Buddha & we relate to Buddhist philosophy. So when we had to select a name for our son starting with the alphabet क (K), after lot of soul searching, we chose the name Kanishk. Now that he is 8 years of age, able to comprehend, we have told Kanishk, the meaning of his name and about King Kanishka.

If Kanishk embraces Buddhist philosophy as he grows up, would it be a consequence of the name's influence on him or because he identifies himself with the name or for a completely unrelated reason? I don't know...may be both ways...

When we are asked about our names and it's meaning and when we explain it, does it reinforces our belief and self-identity, with our name?
I don't know....may be....

Let me take a slight diversion and touch upon the concept of Label (Labeling), from the field of Psychology. Labeling is defined as, assigning a person to a category. I am sure, you must have come across N number of articles and videos, cautioning parents and educators, to refrain from negatively labeling a child. A repeated association of a negative label (e.g. stupid, lazy, dumb etc), can reinforce the belief and self-identify, in this label causing long-term damage to a child's self-esteem and personality. (By the way, this is not only restricted to a child, but also applies to adults. Ill practices like bullying, discrimination are manifestation of negative labeling).

Label (labeling) may not be cent percent equivalent with a Birth Name (naming), but it does share the same principle of belief, self-identify and reinforcements. Think about it!

Seems to me, I have a shift from my previously held opinion - 'may be'.

"What's in a Name?", with all due respect to Brad of Avon, I would say, there is "Lots in a Name". 

What's your opinion? Requesting you to share your comments on this blog post. It would be insightful for me and for all the readers, to get to know different perspectives, thoughts and opinion, on this famous question 'What's in a name?'

Image credit - Anurag Gaggar, Jan 07, 2017, Official OYO Blog