By John Pierce
A biblical proverb affirms: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 NIV)
Perhaps that’s why some parents go to great lengths to name their children. And perhaps that’s why some children complain about the names they were given.
The new pope chose Francis, a good name. Some lesser-known persons have changed their names to something they preferred over the given ones.
Then there are nicknames that are rarely chosen, often given spontaneously, and not always affirming of the person’s best qualities. But they tend to stick.
Names of businesses, organizations and communities are important marketing tools. Some go to great lengths to take advantage of a good name.
Many years ago the Vinings area became one of Atlanta’s most prestigious addresses. So home developments well beyond the popular and pricey houses near the Chattahoochee River were given names like Vinings West or North Vinings Estate. (Not that there’s anything wrong today with admitting that one lives in Smyrna.)
Just recently, according to news reports, the trendy North Shore community in Chattanooga has found its name on developments in Red Bank — a good ways from the restaurants, shops and condos along the northern shore of the Tennessee River.
And all around East Tennessee there are teenagers, male and female, named Peyton. It was an especially good name to drop on a newborn in Knoxville in the ’90s.
Sometimes children are given a name to honor a relative or someone who has positively impacted their parents’ lives or the world at large. Sometimes an otherwise good name is tarnished by the actions of someone with nothing else in common but a shared named.
The goodness of our names, however, is most often and closely tied to the reputations we make for ourselves. This is true of our given names as well as other ones we embrace — like Christian.