When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What is in a name

Usually, when we think about harming someone, visions of some type of violence come to mind. But the truth is that words can sometimes hurt more and have more lasting effects than we would ever have dreamed. Some of the greatest damage that we can ever do to each other is through speaking words in anger. What makes matters even worse is that we tend to speak these words to those who mean the most to us.
Many years ago, when I was just a child, I loved school, I thought that I had many friends there. We played on the playground, we played ball, we invented stories. But something happened in school the year that I turned eight or nine. That is the year that I discovered that I did not fit in. I can't remember how it happened, although I do know some of the things that lead up to it, but suffice it to say, I was not the same as everybody else, and they knew it.
My mom was a single mother during a time when that was not the way most kids grew up. It hadn't mattered when we were younger, but that year, it did. One of the boys got mad at me for something I said or did and he started calling me names and it made me cry. Of course, crying in a group of children is never a good idea. The name that he called me stuck ever after and I had to contend with it until we moved away when I was in Junior High.
Sometimes in my mind, I still hear that name. By itself, it is not a bad name, but it wasn't said in a nice way. And more important to me, it wasn't meant in a nice way. It was a name they used to describe me in a negative manner. Whenever the other children would come together, they would call me that name and try to make me cry again. The really sad thing is that throughout my life, whenever I have felt particularly down on myself, I hear that name in my head, and I have even used it to justify my own feelings of why I am not good enough, or smart enough, or normal enough.
Sometimes, we are given names in this life. We have the given names that our parents gave us when we were born. We each have nick names, usually a term or endearment said by people who love us. They bring good images and good feelings. But we can also receive other names. Things said to us to belittle us. Things said to hurt our feelings and our hearts. Those names are hard to forget and can have lasting consequences.
On the other hand, kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have ever known. Kindness opens doors and makes new friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.
Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years. I will never forget, when my great-grandmother died, the kindness of the prophet Spencer W Kimball as he penned a note expressing his sorrow to her family. She grew up with him the Thatcher Arizona, and even taught him in primary. This very busy man, took time out of his day to write words of comfort to a grieving family. Kindness such as that is never forgotten.
Kindness is the essence of a Christ-like life. It is how people should treat each other. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes with our loved ones.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has stated: "When asked to name the greatest commandment, Jesus did not hesitate. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk".

When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears from our minds. We choose our priorities more wisely. We are more careful in our relationships. We are less judgmental. We are slower to speak and kinder when we do. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father increases and becomes better than we have ever known. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden. Love means more in everything we do. Love is the way by which we make changes, both within ourselves and without.

My challenge to you today, is to not be guilty of giving someone else a name that hurts. Whether you think you know them or not. Don't be the one that makes them feel like they are unimportant or alone. Words can sometimes hurt much more than blows. Especially when spoken by those we would count as friends or family.
And my next challenge might be even harder. It is to let go of the negative names that you hold within you to describe yourself. Those names are still hurting you. Those names are tools that Satan uses to reach inside you and build on your inadequacies and insecurities. Those names are not and never have been truly you. Whenever you are tempted to think you are not good enough remember that you are the son or daughter of a king! You have within yourself all the gifts and blessings that you need to get back home. You are not the names that you hear in your mind. You are HIS CHILD!

Don't Laugh at Me (sung by Mark Wills)
by Allen Shamblin/Steve Seskin

I'm a little boy with glasses
The one they call a geek
A little girl who never smiles
'Cause I've got braces on my teeth
And I know how it feels
To cry myself to sleep

I'm that kid on every playground
who's always chosen last
I'm a single teenage mother
Tryin' to overcome my past
You don't have to be my friend
But is it too much to ask

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

I'm the cripple on the corner
You've passed me on the street
And I wouldn't be out here beggin'
If I had enough to eat
And don't think I don't notice
That our eyes never meet

I lost my wife and little boy when
Someone cross that yellow line
The day we laid them in the ground
Is the day I lost my mind
And right now I'm down to holdin'
This little cardboard sign...so

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

I'm fat,I'm thin, I'm short,I'm tall
I'm deaf, I'm blind, hey, aren't we all

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me


  1. I have much confidence in who I am and when you challenge to let go of the negative names I associate with myself, HARD! VERY HARD! That will stay with me for the remainder of the day. Thank you for this tough assignment. It is about time to do that.


  2. Hey Patty,
    Thanks for your comment!!
    And I totally agree. Words can be so harsh and I don't think people realize how much they can affect someone.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I just looked at your pictures! Cute children! It looks like you have grandkids as well! Isn't that special? Glad to have met you. Well virtually met you anyway. You on Twitter as well?

  4. Nope, I haven't figured out the twitter thing yet. I am on facebook though. glad to see you all here. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I hope you find something meaningful to you here.