How often are we defined with labels? Do they constitute who we are? Can we identify ourselves and others without them?
In one of the greatest tragedies in the history of literature – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – the happiness of young lovers is hindered by the fact that their families loathe each other. In Act 2 Scene 2, Juliet is being overheard by Romeo:
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
Juliet claims that names don’t carry meanings, or – more specifically – qualities. Which, in a sense, is true. Names are usually arbitrary. Yet, when it comes to naming our babies, we try to choose the names that are both “nice” and “powerful”. In the act of naming, we come back to mythical thinking about the world; we get the creative force of projecting our children’s future, reinforcing their strengths and eradicating their weaknesses.
Romeo and Juliet are called “star-crossed lovers” whose affection and (tragic) fate had been predetermined long before they met. No matter whether you believe in a determinist worldview or not, it’s good to stop and think why we speak about the world the way we do. Can we shape the reality around us with the way we communicate? If so, how much better our lives could be if we filled them with positive messages?
My son turns 4 weeks today. Meet Francis (Franek) – two weeks old in the photos below.
“Names” are my inspiration for today. And since I spend almost all my days and nights now taking care of my two sons (Stanley is 4 years old), I focus on kids’ room decor.
As human beings, we’ve got countless means of expression. “Words, words, words” – Hamlet says. Let’s fill them with love and meaning. And let’s do the same with the lives of our children.
Have a wonderful day.