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Who knows you by name?

Kathryn Carson heard her name called seven times during the awards banquet for the national Baptist Communicators Association in Phoenix April 18.

The first time you hear your name is mostly relief because no one wants to get shut out during the event that recognizes the best work of the year by association members.

But Kathryn, lead graphics designer for the Baptist State Convention the past three years, heard her name called repeatedly during the event, gracefully walking forward to receive a certificate each time, with increasing admiration from her peers.

We love to be called by name, don't we? With an outgoing personality and inclusive style, my college roommate must have been the inspiration for the movie character Austin Powers. Students shouted his name across campus and he would wave and reply, "Hey, there you are."

When Austin Powers, "man of mystery," said, "There you are" to a stranger, the stranger asked, "Do I know you?"

"No," Powers replied, "but there you are." Knowing someone's name was not an Austin Powers priority because he is totally ego centric.

It means a lot to call a person by name. It is the first step to knowing them. Calling their name says you value them as more than a presence, a title, a responsibility, or by the label someone else sews onto them.

During Operation Inasmuch April 19 members of Zion Baptist Church in Cleveland County, N.C. were setting a memorial patio into place at Christine's House, a residential facility for girls from abusive or dysfunctional homes. The patio consisted of memorial bricks etched with the name of a donor or a person the donor wanted to honor.

Our name is important. Jacob wanted to know his wrestling opponent. In some cultures parents believe the name they bless a child with determines the child's life direction.

In Exodus 33:17 the Lord said he would do what Moses asked, "because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

Jesus said in John 10 that sheep recognize their shepherd's voice when he calls them by name which enables him to lead them.

The ability to remember names is a real blessing. We may excuse ourselves as simply being unable to remember names, but knowing the blessing it is to be called by name, it is a good idea to work at remembering. One way to remember is to repeat the name quickly in context after you learn it.

Participants at BCA last week will remember Kathryn Carson's name a long time.

POSTED: Apr 27, 2008 | Norman Jameson - normanjameson@gmail.com

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