I am a bit sensitive when it comes to names. Pronouncing names right is important to me. If you grew up with my name, you might understand why. Since you didn’t, let me offer you a peek into my backstory.
Growing up, I was the only Alyssa in my class, school, church, neighborhood, etc. I recognize this is different now, but a personalized mini license plate souvenir was hard to come by in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Let’s face it, I NEEDED a personalized license plate for my bicycle. What was a banana seat without the likes of such décor?
My first name wasn’t my only conundrum, though. My last name became a yodel echoing through the halls of my beloved high school. Speaking of high school, both my first and last names were mispronounced at graduation. That did a little something to a girl struggling with her identity and worth, and already felt dispensable and overlooked. Hearing my name mispronounced underscored my broken identity.
After navigating my [apparently] challenging name during my early years, imagine how fun it was to take on my husband’s last name. I spent incalculable hours practicing how to say my own last name. No joke.
For as many of you reading this post, there are as many pronunciations of my last name. Some of my dearest friends mispronounce my last name. It’s tricky, after all. Some just avoid saying my last name and I can’t say I blame them. It’s humorous to me now, but it didn’t use to be.
Truth is, I appreciate when people ask me how to pronounce my name [typically they only ask about my last name because Alyssa isn’t so uncommon]. There’s something about the question that communicates value and is a segue for further conversation. Interest is an investment.
Names are important. Calling someone by name instills dignity and communicates worth. Maybe I’m a little sensitive about getting someone’s name right, but I think it matters. What would happen if we took the time to learn names and then spent time investing in the lives of others?
Are we too busy to pause and learn? Do you know the name of your mail carrier? What about your next-door neighbor, or bus driver? Behind every name is a story. Some of the stories are sad, some are lonely, some are exciting, and some are replete with adventure. All are important.
As someone who has carried difficult names, I assure you it’s okay to ask for clarification. Your interest in learning might be the encouragement someone needs. Take time to learn today. Interest is investment.
#momentoftruthmonday #names #taketime #interestISinvestment #lifelessons