My wife and I thought long and hard before naming our children. We researched for countless hours, checking meanings, how the names sounded, what the initials might look like, and more.
My eldest son Thálion was named for Húrin, the mighty warrior of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. The nickname means “strong, steadfast, dauntless”, speaking to Húrin’s indomitable will in the face of his long imprisonment by Morgoth.
My daughter Celia’s name means “blind”, suggesting dependence on God. For such a strong-willed girl, she could do with the reminder! Her middle names are Kathis from the Koine Greek word apokathistemi (restoration), and Celorbin (a mix of Sindarin and Quenya meaning “Shining like gold and silver”.
Why all this research and work and effort? Perhaps because names have meaning. They have power. They describe and perhaps shape the named. A reading of the book of Genesis shows, time after time, parents naming their children after events or circumstances surrounding the child’s birth.
I think of my own name, Jason. A Greek word meaning “healer”. I’ve
spent wasted a lot of time pondering that meaning, wondering if it suggested some sort of destiny for me.
My dad usually called me “Jay”, and my brothers followed suit. I’m not enamored of being referred to as a rather annoying bird. I have a co-worker that insists on typing “ja” which I always read as the German word for “yes”.
These days I prefer the initial “J” — or even better, the lowercase “j”. Why? Perhaps I’m not ready to identify myself as a healer anymore. I’m not a healer, and I’m certainly not “Healer”.
(Note: I sure wish I’d had Wikipedia when I was researching my kids’ names!)