Naming the Boy

When my son #1 was born, Karla and I had a very difficult time naming the boy. Truth be told, he didn’t have a name until he was five days old. On day #5, a somewhat perturbed nurse burst into Karla’s room at the Bay Medical Center (in beautiful Bay City Michigan) and informed us that we had to name the baby. Looking at us like we had committed some hideous crime, Nurse Meany of the Maternity Ward glared and sneered, “You have to name the child!”

It wasn’t my fault the boy had no name. I had plenty of names. Great names. But Karla did not approve my suggestions. I don’t know why. My favorites were Foot, Finger or Blue.

In my thinking, if our child became a star beach volleyball player what better name could he have than “Foot” Prince? Imagine the endorsements for a star beach volleyball player named “Foot Prince.” If we spelled our name “Prints” instead of “Prince” it would have made more sense, but if you say “Prince” quick enough it works.

If our offspring became a famous police detective, wouldn’t “Finger” (Prince) be an awesome name for a super crime fighter?

An aspiring architect could not have a better name than “Blue” (Prince), could he? Karla said, “No!”

When Karla failed to see the wisdom of those choices, I suggested that we could give our boy a “normal” first name on the condition that his middle name was “Isa.” Of course, his official name would have been something like Harold “isa” Prince. Again she said, “No.”

Karla had names too. Mostly dumb names. She liked the name “Austin.” Austin? Why would any parent want to name their precious child after the home city of the University of Texas Longhorns? Are you kidding me? I vowed to call him some other Texan city, anything but “Austin.” “Come here, El Paso, it’s time for supper,” I threatened to say. My goodness, if we were going to name him after a college town, wouldn’t it had been better to name him Ann Arbor? Unfortunately, as all Johnny Cash fans know, naming him “Ann Arbor” would have been akin to having a boy “Sue.” That’s probably not a good thing. A boy named “Ann” might have a problem or two on elementary school playgrounds.

Finally with the prodding of Nurse Meany, we decided to name our young Prince, “Alexander.” It’s been a good regal name. It doesn’t have the same pizzazz as “Foot,” but Alex is selling insurance these days not spiking volleyballs on a California beach.

Why the walk down memory lane with you on this June morning?

Parents we have a responsibility to our kids. Giving a name that won’t cause bodily harm on the playground is only the beginning. We have a responsibility to show them the love of Christ. We have a responsibility to point them to the things of God and keep them from the things that will hinder their walk with God. I don’t know any perfect parents. We all make mistakes. Still we should strive to model before our kids Christ-likeness in our words and actions.

The Bible says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands… Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” (Deut. 6:5-8). Moms and dads, let’s tell and retell our kids of the great the love of God. It’s a never-ending, 24-hour job, but you can do it!

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