You know who you are

I am one of ten children, though none of us are children any more. The youngest has turned 50, and the oldest is nearing 70 (but don’t tell her that).

My mother sometimes had difficulty retrieving the correct name and often went through a list before hitting on the child she wanted. I know what it’s like. Sometimes it is difficult enough when there are only two or three to choose from! Maybe you’ve experienced it too. There’s probably a name for this phenomenon, but if there is, I’m not aware of it.

well-you-know-who-you-are

One day, when wanting to give me a direction, she rattled off a few names, but not mine.  Finally, exasperated, she said, “Well, you know who you are.” It has become a family joke. It’s mostly true that I do know who I am. However, sometimes I’m not so sure! I must say that Mum had a wonderful memory until the day she passed just a few weeks before her 91st birthday.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills is talking about the importance of being able to name things and experiences. She says, “Names are such a human attribute,” and asks, “What is in a name?

The ability to name things is important and a young child’s vocabulary often begins with the names of people and objects in the environment; for example, Mum, Dad, dog, car, cookie, juice.

I read once that children don’t really become aware of an object until they are able to apply a name to it. This doesn’t mean they must be able to say the name, just recognise it by name. Unfortunately I don’t remember the source and was unable to verify it with a Google search; but there is no denying that a well-developed vocabulary is a definite advantage to learning.

growing-vocabulary

Children also quickly learn to recognise their own names. Choosing names for children can be a difficult process for parents, with much to consider; for example:

  • The name’s meaning
  • Whether anyone else in the family has the name
  • How it is spelled
  • What the initials will be
  • How the first and last names sound together

Teachers always have the extra burden of being influenced by the names of children they have taught.

Although this blog simply bears my name, choosing a name for my website was a more involved process. Years ago, I ran a home business called Create-a-Way. I chose the name as I thought it expressed the purpose of my business perfectly: children were encouraged to be creative, and it created a way for me to work with children in the way I wanted. I hoped to reuse the name for my website. Unfortunately, the domain names were not available, and I had to think even more creatively.

registered-logo

I eventually settled on the name readilearn as I love reading, and I love learning, and the ‘i’ in the centre puts the focus on the individual learner. I wanted the name of my website to show the importance of reading and learning to an individual’s growth and empowerment. However, when I say the name, I pronounce it “ready learn”. This refers to an individual’s innate readiness to learn, as well as to the resources which are ready for teachers to use in their support of learners.

One of the most important things for a teacher is to get to know the children. I used to pride myself on knowing the children’s names before morning tea on the first day. Of course, I had many strategies in place to help me with that. I have written about some of these strategies before, and there are readilearn resources to support teachers with that as well. In fact, writing this post has stimulated ideas for new resources to create, including resources that help children get to know each other. (Thanks, Charli!)

I have always found it fun to notice when people’s names are a good match for their profession; for example, Matt Dry the weather forecaster.

When Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) explore the importance of a name within a story, and reminded us of the classic Abbott and Costello Who’s on First, I decided I’d try a bit of fun with names as well. I hope it works.

 

Doctor Morana

The community hall was abuzz. Everyone was outtalking the other, except Ms Penn who quietly recorded everything.

“I’m pretty cut up about it,” complained Mr Carver.

“He fired me,” moaned Mr Burns.

“Said I was just loafing around,” grumbled Mr Leaven.

“Could’ve floored me,” griped Mr Lay.

“He was fishing for something,” remarked Ms Salmon.

“Said he’d top me,” sprouted Ms Bean.

“Another nail in his coffin,” whined Mr Chips.

Ms Chalk took the stand. “It’s not just black or white. He knows why you all avoid him like, well … Give him a chance. He’s not his name.”

Did you recognise them all: the journalist, the butcher, the fireman, the baker, the tiler, the fishmonger, the greengrocer, the carpenter, the teacher; and, of course, the one they’re all talking about: the new doctor.

thank-you-1200x757

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

41 thoughts on “You know who you are

  1. julespaige

    It’s true boy or girl, my MIL she should rest – did the same as your Mom…with just three.
    I like how you put the note at the bottom. I wasn’t sure about the Doc, so I looked it up.
    Put that in the learn something new every day category for me. Thanks!

    Reminds me of the ‘bird’ flash 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Jules. I’m pleased I helped you learn something new. It was new for me too!
      I’ve even caught my grandchildren doing the same thing with names. Last night my grandson addressed his aunt using his sister’s name. Often the children at school would call me Mum! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Dayne Sislen, Children's Book Illustrator

    We have a dentist where I live named Dr. Pain and then there is the internist called Dr. Needles. These are real names of real doctors, I think they should have thought about changing their name or their profession. Dr. Pain could be an interrogation officer for homeland security, and Dr. Needles a knitting instructor. I love naming characters in my books. The names may seem random to some, but I put a lot of thought into it. Have a Happy Holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Shubha Athavale

    Hi Norah, took the liberty of visiting your blog via Pauline’s. This week has been a sad one for me and so many others due to Cynthia’s passing. I miss her terribly, and wish I had reached out more to her, via email and not just through her blog. It was because of her blog that I got acquainted with the talent of other bloggers who were regular readers of her blog. I loved your post about “you know who you are”! My father had 6 younger sisters and 2 daughters. I was the youngest of 9 women in his life ( my mother included!!). Anyway when he wanted to call out to me, he would sometimes start with the name of his sisters in order, then my sister’s and finally mine!!
    In the part of India where I was born, traditionally a woman’s first name was changed by her husband in the marriage. And although that tradition thankfully doesn’t exist anymore, thirty two years ago my husband did it! He has never addressed me by that name but it appears on all documents and my passport!! Just a bit of trivia there!! Anyway, my name Shubha was changed to Amrita by my husband and when we migrated to Australia many years ago and I introduced myself as Amrita, everyone thought I said I’m Rita so I started being addressed as Rita which is not what I liked but then I said, what the heck, what did the Bard say? I am still as sweet if I am Rita ( Amrita means sweet in Sanskrit and Hindi)

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for stopping by after visiting Pauline. It is nice to welcome you. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Cynthia. Pauline describes her as an amazing person. I am disappointed I didn’t get to meet her.
      Thank you for sharing that information about naming traditions in India. Amrita is a lovely name with a beautiful meaning, which I’m sure is a perfect fit for you. It’s interesting that your husband gave you the name but hasn’t use it to address you. What does Shubha mean? I’m sure it must be something lovely too.
      I’m not surprised your father had difficulty with all those girls names! He was a bit outnumbered. Were any of the names similar?
      Thank you for stopping by to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Sherri

    Hi Norah, I’m so glad to make it over here before I sign off until after the New Year…my boys arrive tomorrow and still a few things to do, but almost there! I love your flash, so clever! I left a comment over at the Ranch about the name Robert 🙂 I never caught on before that you are from a family of ten children – wow, no wonder your mother couldn’t always remember everyone’s names! What a lovely family 🙂 We seem to have a lot of nick names in ours, everyone called by anything other than their actual name, including our menagerie of pets lol! The name of your website is very creative, and easy to remember too! And Matt Dry for a weather forecaster – so funny! I knew a doctor once called Dr Paine…tried to avoid him! Merry Christmas dear Norah, to you and your family, may it be filled with joy, love, light and laughter, and very best wishes for a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing you iin 2017 🙂 xxx

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for popping in and leaving such a lovely comment, Sherri. I’m struggling to do the rounds myself so I’m pleased to receive your wishes and the opportunity of responding to them here (just in case I don’t get over to your Summerhouse).
      Your avoidance of Dr Paine is what I was trying to show in my story. It’s funny how some people have names that fit their job (and sometimes them!) perfectly. I think you must be very sweet. 🙂
      I wish you and your family a wonderful time together this Christmas. It will be tinged with sadness after losing your Dad so recently, but your togetherness will be healing. It sounds like all your family will be together, so have fun, enjoy each other’s company, and share the love around. Best wishes to all. I look forward to continuing our conversations and friendship in 2017.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Sherri

        Hello dear Norah, and a very Happy New Year to you my friend! I’m only just getting to my comments since signing off for Christmas, and my heart is full of joy reading your lovely, kind, sweet words again. Thank you so much for thinking about my dad, I missed getting a Christmas card from him…what a year it was. But yes, having my family all together was wonderfully healing… my only complaint was it went too fast! And here we are, 2017. Here’s to many more conversations Norah, thank you so much for your wonderful friendship! I hope the year ahead brings you health, happiness and joy and every success, you deserve it. Much love and SMAG in abundance 🙂 xxx ❤

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you, Sherri. I wish as much and more for you and your loved ones. My little one is flying the coop (well, she actually left the nest many years ago) and moving to a new job 1300 klms away. I’m very excited for her, and what a grand adventure she’ll be on, but I will miss her. Hopefully 2017 will bring us all some good things, maybe even what we think we need or want. 🙂
          I agree – SMAG in abundance! Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Sherri

            Ahh…how exciting for your little one…but yes, you will miss her. It’s bittersweet when they fly the nest, thank goodness we can look forward to those visits! Thank you Norah, and the same for you and yours…more SMAG coming your way, and see you soon with even more hugs! 😀 🙂 xo

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            1. Norah Post author

              Thank you, Sherri. My baby left today. But I have to be happy for her. She’s off on a great adventure with a great work opportunity. Thank you for your hugs. I appreciate them.

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
              1. Sherri

                So sorry I’m late responding Norah…I hope you’re feeling a little less sad after saying goodbye to your baby… so good to know she has such a great work opportunity, which I know helps greatly. But it’s still hard…another hug for you… xxx

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  5. Rowena

    Hi Norah. I loved your flash and it was very clever working out all those names. I have heard of a Dr Death (pronounced Deeth). I used to go to a Dr Bone.
    My mother keeps calling my son after my brother and so she told him that she’d pay him every time she did it and then I heard him shout out she owed him something like $50.00. Mum has spent a lot of time with the kids and also dropped everything when we needed it. We told him Mama wasn’t paying him anything!
    xx Rowena
    BTW Didn’t realise you were one of 10. My dad is one of 7 and I love being part of such a big family, although there was just my brother and I and we only have two. Geoff is one of four.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash, Rowena. I had fun writing it, though it was a challenge to get it to make some kind of sense.
      Your Mum probably didn’t realise how many times she’s call her grandson by her son’s name. The other day my daughter spoke to her nephew using her dog’s name!!!
      Large families have their advantages and disadvantages. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Pingback: What’s in a Name? « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. Christy B

    I loved as a child when an adult used my name when talking to me. It made me feel special 🙂 I chuckled at the story of your mom rattling off a list of names before getting to the correct one as my mom has done so and even called me “John” (which is my dad’s name) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      It is great to be recognised and spoken to by name. I remember that feeling too.
      I think there’s a few of us around with that naming issue!
      Thanks for commenting. Happy Christmas! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. dgkaye

    Wonderful post Norah. It reminded me of my grandmother who at times couldn’t get our names right either, and there were only 4 of us, but when she got overwhelmed with us being rambunctious she seemed to get frazzled with names. We were young and mocked her, but turns out a decade later she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, perhaps her name forgetting was alluding to the disease. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Debby. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. I’m sorry to hear that your grandmother suffered from Parkinson’s. It’s a cruel disease. I think there are many more who experience this difficulty with names than suffer from Parkinson’s, but perhaps there is a connection of sorts. I wonder if a link has been found. A few of us might be in trouble if it has!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. dgkaye

        Arg, Norah, I know it’s scary to think. My father’s brother also became a victim, and who knows what would have happened to my dad had he lived into his senior years. It’s truly scary to think what the links would be!

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        Reply
  9. writersideup

    Everything about this post is enjoyable, Norah 🙂 First—my grandmother was famous for the “list” of names before she hit the right one and she had four kids, not ten! But names for things and people are most definitely important.

    I love that you put up that video ’cause it brought back my memories of my Aunt Rita (gone now) having given me her Johnny Mathis album to listen to when I was really sick with some flu or whatever as a kid and his version of “Getting to Know You” was on it 🙂 Such a wonderful story/musical.

    And GREAT job on “Doctor Morana”! So clever 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Donna. I really appreciate the enthusiasm of your words. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post, and that it rekindled good memories for you. I haven’t heard Johnny Mathis sing “Getting to know you”. I must look it up. 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words re my flash as well. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  10. Annecdotist

    Ha, your clever flash reminds me of the card game Happy Families, and I do remember as a child enjoying the links between the names and (sadly always the father’s) profession, although I suppose the mother did tend to muck in as well.
    I feel I ought to know more about the psychology of naming and understanding objects – maybe it’ll come back to me! It reminds me, however, that when I began to learn the names of wildflowers, and begin better able to distinguish between them rather than dismissing them all as weeds. I’m wondering now if that’s the same process.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Anne. Happy Families was a fun game to play. I haven’t thought about it for a while. I guess when we were kids the gender stereotypes were even stronger than they are now.
      I think your learning to identify and name the wildflowers is the same process; as is children learning to identify the individual dinosaurs, or me the colours. Some people (artists and designers) can identify many shades and tones of red. To me it’s red. I must extend my colourful vocabulary! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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