The love in a name

The newel knob of our banister is a catch-all for items of clothing, headphones and strappy purses. Yesterday, those items coincidentally fell into place so it looked like we had a new family member.

I posted the picture on my Facebook feed and immediately received suggestions to give our creation a name. All of us picked up a “he” vibe even though the scarf and hat belong to my daughter. Stumpy, Lanister, and Billy Bannister were some ideas. A clever friend suggested Roger to pay homage to the runner.

Cows with names make more milk, so there must be something to the idea that to be named is to be worthy of love. We name or pets, cars, boats, and stuffed animals. When we name them we make them part of our family, and we love them.

If we number things things—or people—on the other hand, it deems them unworthy of love, dehumanizes them. The Nazis knew this. 

When we bestow a name, when we take time to ponder possibilities, filter through meanings, and find just the right feeling, it is an act of love.

For some reason, I found the name Philip hilarious. Welcome to our family Philip Banister. I can tell you’re the kind of guy who has never relied on looks to get by so you developed a killer sense of humour. I expect we’ll have lots of laughs together.

I’d love to hear about the named things you love.





8 thoughts on “The love in a name

  1. marianbeaman

    Fun post, Arlene. Philip Banister sounds just right: newel post filling up with stuff that won’t get lost. I didn’t know that cows with names give more milk – ha – but that’s believable.

    I tried to learn the names of students in my classes early on. It showed I cared; they were not just a number on a roll to me. Names have power!

  2. Hazel Smith

    I remember my host family in Nicaragua, years ago, had pet budgies, but they didn’t have names because “they are just birds.” They also had a pet dog, who did have a name. I thought this was a cultural difference, but maybe not. Do farmers name all their animals? Does it depend on the animal’s purpose? At Makumba Farm in Zambia where I also have visited, the farm animals are not named, to my knowledge, and the pet dogs and cat are.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oh, it hurt my heart to read they are “just birds,” but then I remembered that we didn’t name the chickens we raised on our farm. We named the cows, pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs – not the chickens. There were so many! Interesting observation.

  3. Sharyn

    Cute blog, Arlene.

    I named my red Tiguan, Ruby because of her colour and also because my birthstone is a ruby. I talk to Ruby all the time, apologize for her frequently dirty condition due to living on a graveled back road, and tell her how lively she becomes whenever her tank is filled. She knows I love her even though I’m not the most organized or fastidious caregiver.


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