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Name that . . .


Image Credit: Brad Washburn

Image Credit: Brad Washburn

I think it is a guy’s job to name things of importance.

Good thing that this blog column is for Dads and females aren’t reading it . . . right? Right?

Oh man, I think I’m in dangerous waters.

First, let me start with the Bible. In the Beginning account in Genesis, Adam’s job was to name the animals. In the Old Testament, men were responsible to name places, and put names to events where God did something amazing.
As you continue throughout Scripture, guys put names to things of importance. Read about Zechariah in Luke 1; even when he was mute, he wrote down on a slip of paper that his newborn son was to be named John (the Baptist).

I can hear legions of women picking up pitchforks and heating up cauldrons of tar. Let me expound on this a little more before the mob arrives.

In the history of culture described in the Bible, guys had a significant role as leaders and God-followers. So, much of the “important” details of naming things fell to them. There are, of course, very clear accounts of women also naming things. For instance, the plethora of kids named in the ‘son making war’ in Genesis 30.

There are other examples of women in the Bible naming things, but I’m risking provoking a
feminist mob to say this: Dads, we need to take the responsibility to name things.

I’m not talking about kids or pets. Although, as a side note, most of my awesome name suggestions for our kids were somehow relegated to our pets. Our turtle got the name Quinn. Our Dog, the PH.D. in Phrenology, got the name (Dr.) Bohdi. We had a snake once named Martok, and in each of these cases I think you will agree that these are EXCELLENT names.
I think my wife was agreeing to me using some of my best name suggestions for the pets, so that I wouldn’t try to use them for our kids. She’s devious. And, she’s obviously never seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade . . .

Anyway, sometimes Dads need to be the one to name, or label, what is really happening.

For instance, let’s say that it’s the week before school starts. The family has been doing all the usual roles of a family preparing for this event. Parents are quietly rejoicing and shopping for school supplies. Kids are trying to ignore the fact that schools starting. Many families try to squeeze in a vacation. Schedules begin to be disrupted. . . . and suddenly there is the presence of a high amount of stress.
This is where a Dad steps in and names the situation. “We are all stressed because school is going to start.”
It seems like a miniscule thing, but naming a situation like this helps everyone understand how they are feeling and gives them insight on how to cope. Once such back-to-school stress is named, then everyone can take measures to deal with it.

Just to compound the metaphor with another example, let’s imagine back in the Old Testament when some of the animals God created were roaming through the newly created landscape. At first, no one knew what the tawny four-legged beast was called that kept eating the flocks. Then, Adam named it: Lion. Then, people knew how to react because the animal had been named. When someone said, “Lion” people knew to take measures not to get eaten.

Dads can name situations. Some of the most important times that dudes named things in the Bible were when God did something amazing.

Person 1: What’s the name of that giant rock there between Mizpah and Shen?

Person 2: It’s named “Ebenezer”

Person 1: Oh, that means “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” That must be another time that God delivered the Israelites. (1 Samuel 7:12)

Dads need to put emphasis on things God is doing and has done. A Dad could name a time as, “The summer God gave us the great vacation,” Or “The time that God spared us from losing our house.” Putting a name to a time gives God glory and helps you reflect on God’s master plan. You could look back and say that, “God saved me from being promoted in that job where all the upper management got laid off.”

It does seem a little silly to have such long and descriptive names, but keep in mind that words are fraught with deep semantic meaning. So, naming your house “Providence” can mean that God provided it to you. Naming your car “Winter Blessing” can symbolize that God provided some great snow tires . . .

‘Name what shall not be named.’ Evil is present and active in our world. Dads should be calling out sin for what it is; reveal sin with its proper name. In the popular Harry Potter book/movie series. The characters live in fear of the evil wizard Voldemort – they are so frightened, that they won’t even say his name, instead calling him “He whom shall not be named.” Here’s what the main character, Harry, was advised:

“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I had to include that quote, because it’s poignant. Satan loves it when we find socially acceptable names for sin.

This past week I had to accurately put a name to some things that happened in the news.

That’s murder.
That’s racism against whites
That’s racism against blacks
That’s terrorism.

In each of these situations, the media sometimes used much different words. Another example; “fornication” is a word most people don’t know. Partly because it’s a large and old-fashioned word, but also because people don’t want to label ‘having sex out of wedlock’ as sin. It’s so much easier to say “hooking up,” “living together,” or “unmarried couple.”

Which probably is a good last point for this article. Just like I am living in imminent danger of being flogged for this article by my wife and other wonderful women, it’s sometimes dangerous and unpopular to be a guy performing his God-ordained

[Buying tickets right now to Burma]

. . . responsibility to name things. People don’t like it when you use the correct term for sin.

Just as a side note on this topic. My youngest son has a pet toad that he named “Gamabunta” — wouldn’t that be a great name for a kid? Clearly he is ready to use his naming ability for his future family.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . . .

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