Recently, I ran a series of workshops with about 700 students in grades 6 and 8. The workshops were about diversity and acceptance and how to treat migrants coming from different cultural backgrounds. One of the questions that came up in every session was about names – what do you do with your name once you move to live in a different country?
I have been running these workshops over the last 4 years and have seen over 10,000 students from grade 4 to grade 12. In many places, the kids were convinced that changing a name is a must when you move to a new country and when I ask them if they know the meaning of their name, surprise, surprise (or maybe not), most of them do not know the meaning of their own name.
Out of 700 students, only about 30 raised their hands to share the meaning of their names with others, while the rest were nameless. They did not know what the meaning of their names was or why their parents had given them that name. They knew nothing about the story of their name.
I believe that explains why they people change their names once they move to another country and why the people in their new country expect them to “localize” their name.
To get the kids’ interest, I told them that in my tradition, the name you are given determines your destiny. You will have the character of the name or the character of the person you are named after. My name is a Hebrew name, which means “little happy song” (in a female form). I think I live up to my name, because I dedicate my life to “singing the happiness song” and teaching others to find their own happiness. It is no coincidence that my life coaching business is called “Be Happy in LIFE”.
I am also short…
Read more about how much names mean…