Naming Our Children

One of my favorite things to ask new parents is why or how they chose their child’s name. I love hearing those stories. Speaking a name over our children has been something Betony and I have taken very seriously (and with some fear, too) and I’m always excited to share with friends and family how our girls’ names came to be. I feel like it not only tells the roots of their story, but so much of ours as well.

(Alongside asking why we give our children their names it’s good to also ask what meaning do you find in your own name? Why were your parents drawn to it? Is there someone’s legacy you are embodying? A biblical story? A piece of nature that holds a memory? It’s good to ask our parents such questions.)

So, shared here are some reasons why we’ve chosen these names for our girls. Actually, choosing Beatrice, Hattie, and Lucy’s names came from a collection of several reasons, that and they just “felt right”. I’d like to share pieces of those reasons here, for each child.


BEATRICE ELAINE DIANNE

The name Beatrice means “She who brings happiness, blessed”. When it comes to our children never have Betony and I felt such completion and blessing.

The name Beatrice also means “Voyager”, which since this little one has been to Iceland and back already we thought was appropriate.

And the “beatitudes” share a common root-word with Beatrice (again, meaning blessed). This poetry from a sermon of Jesus’ is all about how God is with the broken, hurt, and empty who are giving themselves to the world. (See Matthew 5). It’s a beautiful passage.

Elaine is the name of Betony’s mother. She’s been a wonderful presence of calm and peace for us and our family. We’re excited to honor her with the name-sake.

Dianne is my mother’s name. Along with my wife (and children) I consider her one of the most important people in my life. She’s strong, resilient, and non-stop-busy loving us and her family.

One Christmas I was reading Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit to Lucy while Debussy’s Claire Du Lune was playing. The wonderful memory has stayed with me as a father.

Shortening the middle names to E. D. and you get my father’s name. We’re planning on “Edie” (EE-dee) being her family nickname.

HARRIET ORCHARD

Betony’s grandfather, Harold “Hal” Snyder, was a wonderful man who passed away a few summers ago. He was a big-band drummer, a humanitarian, and a banker (Rad!). Harriet is not the true “feminine” version of Harold, but in our minds… sure it is.

Betony grew up on an apple orchard. It was a magnificent and magical place to be a child.

One of my favorite verses is from Psalm 1: 3-4, referring to a person planted by streams of righteousness:

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.”

And this picture of a tree firmly planted giving life-bearing fruit to the world around them- this has been one of the best pictures I’ve held to for my life.

In thinking of strong females in history, Betony and I thought of Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe immediately.

“Harriet! Harr-i-et! Hard-hearted harbinger of hagass! Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher.” -Mike Myers, So I Married an Axe Murderer… greatest 90′s comedy, ever!

“Harriet” means “home-maker”. If you’ve experienced the food and hospitality Betony gives, you can feel that value of ours in your soul.

Lastly, “Hattie” is a beautiful word to say aloud.

LUCY ISRAEL

My grandmother, Beulah Arnold, was a progressive, compassionate woman who’s nickname (from my grandfather) was “Lucy”.

Betony had a “Peanuts” shirt that said “Lucy” on the back when we first met.

Lucy, translated in latin, means “light”.

One out of every 15 or so people who meet Lucy quickly sing, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds!”. I wanted that to be the response in meeting my daughter: immediate song!

“O Israel, trust in the Lord!” is the chorus of a Waterdeep song that Betony loves.

Jacob “wrestles with God” and is renamed Israel. I speak this over my daughter: faith is not easy, it is something you will always wrestle with. And sometimes come away with a limp.

2 replies
  1. Debra
    Debra says:

    Thank you for sharing all these beautiful name stories! Names mean so much to us as well, and I loved writing out the stories of my kids’ names. But I am thoroughly impressed with your ability to be so concise while conveying so many rich layers of story and meaning! Simply beautiful.

    Reply

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