~Janet’s Blog

Remember Names – Change the World

Can you hear it? Do you know what is one of the most pleasing sounds humans love to hear? We love to hear our names. Especially when spoken with kindness!

Sound silly?

Well, just turn it around and think of the last time someone called out your name when they were ticked off. Remember how strong that feeling was? Eeesh! I saw you flinch just thinking about it!

Now think of a time when someone called your name who was so delighted to see you, a friend, your spouse, your children, parent, sibling. Didn’t it just make you feel all warm inside?

Well, I totally believe it is true for all of us.

Recently, I was out one morning walking Bronx when I heard the delightful sound of someone happily calling out my name.  It was my neighbor out riding his bicycle.

It was truly a pleasing sound. It made me feel seen, welcomed like I belonged!

Shoot, when I think about it, even our dog and three cats like to hear their names called. Now that may have to do with the fact that they get often get fed when we call them. But it isn’t the only time we call them. They happily respond when it is a lap being made available, or a head scratch is given. I have also noticed that when they hear their name spoken with irritation they run and hide. So they notice the difference too.

This incident inspired me to reflect on the importance of learning and remembering people’s names.

What’s in a Name?

Your name wnamesas a celebration of you when it was chosen. Your name is one of the first words you recognized and understood as a baby. That beautiful word was you!

You toddled across the room when you heard your name called. You smiled when your name was sung for your birthday each year. You have an emotional connection to our name. So it makes sense that we would grow to love hearing our name spoken with joy.

Remembering other’s names can create a positive ripple in the world

Pleasantly calling someone by name does three powerful things:

  1. They feel special
  2. You inspire them (your kindness paid forward)
  3. You create a warm connection between each other

2 Reasons Making People Matter, Matters!

First, we are each a unique piece of God’s creation. No one is the same. God does that on purpose. He happily creates each one of us with a unique purpose. We want respect. Others do, too. It does not matter who a person is, where they are from, or what their background is. Everyone wants to be valued and respected. When you disrespect the art, you disrespect the artist.

Second, we make ripples in this world with our behavior. How we treat other people makes an impact on this world. One way to make this world a better place is through kindness! Can you imagine the impact we would have on this planet if everyone went out of their way and decided to pay love forward to everyone else? Holy smokes! It would be amazing, yes?

One great way to make a person feel that they matter is by knowing their name. They feel welcome. They belong. They are seen and worth remembering.

Right from the start

We need to think small when it comes to the big impact knowing names can make. Small? Yes! Babies, toddlers, children, kids, teens, not just grown-ups…. Everyone!

Children see that their lives matter and are important to the adults in their lives. This knowledge becomes part of the very foundation of their souls. That is powerful and a huge blessing!

People open up, share, and live out their best self when they know they matter. And when we live our best self we become brave and open. We try new things. We create new ideas. We feel compelled to cheer others on because we are confident in who we are.

“Hi, Bubba!”

Keeping track of people’s names is a challenge for me. Back in the day, when I would first meet a kid while doing youth ministry, I would cover this up by calling them “bud” or “bubba” or “hey lady” or “Whazzup.” It would buy me some time to get their name down.

In adult interactions you can dance around not knowing someone’s name a little with an enthusiastic “Hey how are you?!” but ultimately we start avoiding people if we forget their name because we don’t want to look stupid. Well, that is a terrible reason not to have a relationship with a person! Be bold! Ask again. Show others that they were important enough to you that you have the guts to be humble and ask again.

5 Ways to Change the world through – Name Games

Having a plan to hang onto names is important. One way to do that is by playing name games. I learned at a memory conference once that if we can make some connection between a person’s name and an object or a play on words it will help us remember. For example:

  1. You meet Danielle. She talks in quite an animated way. So you could, for instance, create the phrase “Dancing-Danielle” to help you remember her.
  2. You have coffee with Sue. Well, it turns out she has big blue eyes. You tie Sue’s name to the poem “She sells seashells down by the seashore.”
  3. One thing I do is if this new person’s name is the same as a good friend of mine I make a mental note and create a mental connection between my friend and my new acquaintance.
  4. Make use of your phone. Write down in the notes app the person’s name and something about them that will help you remember them.
  5. Most of all, be honest about your memory. While it is tempting to pretend otherwise, own your truth since you’ll make progress faster that way. Rather than let a name slip by, maybe just take a selfie with the other person. Especially helpful, send the selfie picture to their email, too. In addition to having a picture to remember them by, you’ll have their information to put it in your contacts later.

Remember a Name – Change the World

Use these tricks for remembering names. Make this world a better place. It will help you make stronger connections with people. It will be good for you and ripple out positivity from there!

Change the world—yours, your teens, their friends, other parents, other adults—one name at a time.

Add to the conversation. Leave your comment below. We’ll be glad you did.



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