Naming Children, Motherhod
Family life

Names Are Powerful; What Do You Call Your Child?

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I once had a classmate that goes by the name Benjamin. I got to relate with him on a closer range and one of the times we talked, he told me he formerly went by the name Benoni.

I was shocked to my bones. How on earth can a mother give that name to her child? I probed the more. I wanted to know why of all names in the world, she chose that one.

It was then he told me his mum died while giving birth to him. I quickly remembered the biblical Rachel and the circumstances that surrounded her death. I realized this was typical of what happened when she gave birth to Benjamin. She was at the verge of death and so she named him Benoni but Jacob her husband called him Benjamin instead.

I wondered at the heart of this woman who would rather prefer that her son live to forever remember the circumstances surrounding his birth as though he contributed to it in any way.

Names are powerful. They are a form of identity. It is not uncommon for children to misbehave. And so a mother is more tempted to call them names that go to prove their foolishness.

Indeed, foolishness is bound in their heart but instead of speaking negatives words (like foolish girl, stupid child, naughty boy) or using words that suggest they are failures when they fail a class or fail in school, convert it to the positive and prophetically rebuke that foolishness in them.

This for one makes the child know that he is not a failure even if everyone in his class sees him as one. At least he knows that his mum is one person that would not accept the ‘verdict’ that his teacher has passed on him.

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This brings to mind an incidence that happened with the children I taught in Sunday school. I was preparing them for a bible quiz then. As we progressed, it got to a point where we had to do an assessment so we can decide on who and who will represent us at the competition.

I can bet that even though you call him a fool, it will pain your heart deeply if he becomes one in the future. So, next time you’re tempted to speak a negative word in anger to your child or any child, please understand that these words are seeds. Address your child by what you want them to become. Sow seeds in their lives that you can boast about when they mature!

At the end of the exercise, they turned in their scripts for marking. One of the boys didn’t do well and so I wrote the word ‘poor’ on his script. The moment he got his scripts, he voiced out the word I wrote in it. And he went on to say “I’m a poor boy”.

I called him and tried to explain to him that I didn’t mean that he was poor and that it was as a result of his performance in the exercise but he didn’t want to hear. He kept on saying “I’m a poor boy”. Although they all started making fun of the expression I wrote in each person’s book, that experience taught me a lesson.

Many a times, we tend to be overwhelmed by our emotions and release words into these children. But I’d love you to know that these words are seeds that would germinate someday. Some of them can get to the point of permanently killing the desire to be the best in these children. This shouldn’t be.

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I can bet that even though you call him a fool, it will pain your heart deeply if he becomes one in the future. So, next time you’re tempted to speak a negative word in anger to your child or any child, please understand that these words are seeds. Address your child by what you want them to become. Sow seeds in their lives that you can boast about when they mature!

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