Names are what we are known by, a means of identification distinguishing one individual from another. Names are so powerful, they can open doors for you or firmly slam them permanently shut in your face! On a deeper level, names (like Endurance or Patience) are sometimes given to people according to the prevailing circumstances their parents had or were passing through or a commemoration of some big event or world activity (like Christmas, Easter or even New Year). One of my aunts was called Queen because she was born about the time Queen Elizabeth visited Nigeria.
Occasionally, names are given with only rhyme and rhythm in mind like North West! On a spiritual note, names connote wishes the parents may have for their child as he/she journeys through life. Sometimes, they are given as tribute to God or gods in gratitude for what parents have benefitted from such deities. In this regard, African names are replete with spiritual connotations. Their profound meanings usually tell a story. I am a fan of African names.
Often times, people tend to behave according to the meaning of their names. I do not know if it is an agreement in the supernatural concerning the meanings such names carry or some more sinister reason; but we have seen how folks like Jacob in the bible (meaning ‘supplanter’) that outsmarted his older brother and took his birth right before God changed his name to Israel. Nabal (meaning ‘fool’ in 1 Samuel 25:25) was foolish enough to disrespect a warlord like David who had been kind to him, thereby invoking imminent annihilation but for his wife’s timely intervention.
How ever we look at it, names are a vital part of our lives and play a great role in how things turn out for us. Come to think of it, since we were born, we have been called by our names several times a day over the years and each time we respond to such calls, we agree in spirit to the meanings of our names; thereby unconsciously shaping our destinies. Has anyone ever wondered about the coincidence between Usain Bolt’s surname and his being the fastest man alive now? Remember as fast as lightning; a bolt of lightning? Catch my drift? I used to have a cousin called Kennedy. He was born when President John Kennedy became President of the United States and was named after him. Sadly In 2001, he was tragically shot to death in the United States where he resided, just like JFK. Ever heard of the Kennedy curse?
On a lighter note, is anyone in doubt why the man who controls the gates to dollar bills is the richest man in the world? With a name like Bill Gates, I am not.
I know a fellow called Endurance. While I do not know why his folks called him that, he has sure endured too much in life. The one they call Tompolo, do we realize his first name is actually Government? Any wonder why he has been engaging Nigerian Governments through the years in various aspects.
We naturally find some names appealing and readily assume them, give them to children or loved ones. Other names, we find repulsive and almost a taboo. While names like Angel, Ayo, Beyoncé, Chimamanda, Denzel, Emmanuel, Ijeoma, Onome, Oyinlola, Sharon, Teslimat, Zainab and Zion, are quite inviting; but as nice as Lucifer sounds I have not seen anyone called that, or Jezebel. I am also not certain that anyone wants to name their child after history’s nasty characters like Hitler, Idi Amin, Mobutu or even Abacha.
When we call children names that portend futuristic achievements, we really need to seriously consider how they may affect their destinies. If your name is one of such that is proclaiming things will be well tomorrow and you’re an adult struggling through life without getting significant results today, you may want to seriously consider a name change; declaring instead that things must be well now.
I do concede however, that a beautiful name with a positive meaning all by itself, is not enough to give anyone the good life without the commensurate hard work and many other factors.
But if you think all the foregoing is nothing other than higi haga crinkum crankum gargantuan gaga (non -Nigerian readers please look up ‘Patrick Obahiagbon’) think about the man called ‘Goodluck’ and tell me you don’t truly believe names play a major role in our lives.
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