When my twin sister and I were little, we were called by our middle names instead of our first names. From there, the middle names were shortened by relatives and we became Neecy and Nay Nay by all who knew us. By the time we got to kindergarten though, rules changed and we were told that not only were we going to be put in separate classrooms but also called by our first names. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. New name and new faces and I had to learn to handle it all on my own for 3 1/2 hours a day. It took a while but eventually, I learned to value my name, Simone.
Then the other issue surrounding the names was that we were also called, "twins". It made it much easier on people who couldn't tell us apart. It took away their embarrassment of having to ask, "Which one are you?" All through school, including high school, we were referred to as the "twins". Although I was used to it, I still wished that we were both recognized for being ourselves.
As we ventured out on our own, people were able to get to know us separately. It was then that I realized how much I liked hearing my name. My name is like a label created just for me - it's personalized and special and fits (I think). Because I know how much I like being called by my name, I make a habit of calling others by their names as well. (Plus, it helps me to remember their name when I first meet them.) When I'm calling to speak to technical support, I listen for the name of the speaker and then I'll greet them with, "Hi Heather." To me, it makes that moment that we are talking more one on one and personal. I found this to be true at assisted living residences too. The moment you say, "Hi Harry!" I notice how quickly Harry's eyes twinkle.
When I worked at the elementary school, as difficult as it was to memorize every kid's name, I did my best so that as I passed them in the hall or when I went into their classrooms, I could smile and say, "Hi Sarah! Good job, Malik!" Sometimes I'd hear them whisper, "She KNOWS my name!"
That's why I love the scripture Isaiah 43:1 that says, "I have called you by name, you are mine." I love knowing that there is only one me. Sure I'm not the only Simone but I am uniquely the only Simone who looks, sounds and likes the things that I do.
Take the time to call someone by their name today.