Tuesday, May 26, 2009


It seems to me that names must be very important to people. Expectant parents spend many hours, sometimes months, pouring over lists of names and their meanings, in hopes of finding the perfect name for their child. Of course, when the child has been born, and the name is given, the meaning has no importance to anyone, outside of the person who chose the moniker for the babe. In Biblical times, parents gave names according to personality traits they wanted for their child to develop or to honor the Lord, in some way. Hannah, who wanted a son, named her baby, Samuel, which means 'asked of God'. The name of the first man, "Adam", means 'man'.

Sometimes I've wondered if these little people grow to 'live up to' the meanings of their names. When I look at the way my children have developed, the definitions given to their names seem to have become a part of their lives. For example, my youngest was given the name Megan Beth.

Megan comes from the Welsh, meaning 'strong' and Beth is Hebrew, meaning 'house of'....so Meg's full name means 'house of strength.' Not that I put any store in astrology, but she is also born under the sign of the bull, a Taurus. Megan was a strong-willed child, and as a head-strong teen, was a bit of a challenge for me. As an adult, she is a strong woman, intelligent and
tackles her life head-on, with little diversion from her task. She is, indeed, a house of strength.

Amy, means 'beloved'. She is that, to most who meet her. She is well loved in the family, and seems to make friends easily and be accepted. She is thought of well by her employers and looked upon as friendly and outgoing. She is a giver, governed by her heart, so I'd say that she is beloved and loving too.

My grand-daughter has an unusual name, Selah. The word is a musical term meaning 'pause' or 'meditate on this'. This not -quite-six year old was an infant who seemed to be gazing into unseen worlds, examining everything she saw, and still is a very serious child. She mulls over everything and must have a valid reason for all things. She contemplates every word, and if it doesn't make sense to her, she must question it. Her father says she will be a lawyer.

These examples are just three of many, many instances I've seen where babies seem to grow into the meaning of their names, given before they have a chance to determine what behaviors and personality traits they will adopt. I would want to say to every parent, 'choose wisely the name you bestow upon your child'. It is unclear whether a name really can help or hinder a child to develop good ways of living, but personally, I wouldn't want to take a chance!

Hope Chest

Who remembers the term "hope chest" these days? We of the middle age and older generations do, but somewhere along the passing of time, I believe the idea has gone by way of the dowery.

When I was a teenager in the 1960's, my mother and aunts began giving me household items for my 'hope chest.' I didn't really have a chest, per se. in which to store these things, though I'm sure some girls did. The contents of a hope chest were to prepare the young woman for an eventual home of her own. Gifts would come for my 'despair barrel' as one of my aunts deemed it, and would be stored in my closet for the 'someday' when I'd need it.

I like the custom, though, I'm not sure I did at the time. I always had the idea that I'd be a wife and eventually a mother, but at the age of fifteen and sixteen, I thought I had plenty of time, and household items were not particularly exciting. However, when at the (too young) age of nineteen, I married a high school boyfriend, those towels and dishes, sheets, etc. came in handy.

When my daughters were teenagers, I gave each of them a cedar chest. There were gifts, here and there, of articles that they could save for their future homes, but things had changed by that time. Kids were more interested in 'registering' for the specific small appliances or dishware or linens. Registering is common practice today, but it irks me. When a gal gets engaged and sets a date, she runs to her favorite department store and picks out everything she'd like to receive, and then lets all the gift buyers know where they can choose one of those items to bestow upon her and her intended. I suppose, for some, this makes it convenient because one doesn't have to think much about what the gift will be. They need only to decide what they want to spend and pick something from the list which lines up with their budget. It also is insurance that the bride will like and use your gift, since she's picked it herself.

I've never been ''registered'' for gifts, nor have I purchased anything from a registry list. I like the challenge of shopping for useful gifts that I think would suit the one receiving it. I might sneak a peek at a list, just to see what a bride's china pattern is, or to get an idea of her color preferences, but the gift is all my own idea.

Some of the old ways still charm me more than today's practices. I think I'm getting old, and I know I'm old-fashioned. I can think of a hope chest full of ancient traditions that I'd trade for methods of this day and age. Life moves on, times change, but sometimes I wish things could be a little more like they were in the days when I was young.