What’s in a name?

Little Fire. Strong-Willed Warrior. Rest and Peace. Wisdom. Free. Like a Bird. This is a short list of the meanings of six of the most popular baby names of 2010. My name, Elizabeth, means “God is my Oath” or “Consecrated to God” and I try to live up to that meaning daily.

When Shawn and I found out we were pregnant for the first time, we made a list of names we liked. We considered how the first and middle names would sound together and with our last name. We thought of nicknames that would come of that name. We wanted something a little traditional, a little original. We also looked up the meanings of names we liked. Our first child was a girl and we named her Elise (a form of Elizabeth) and Georgia as her middle name, after my dad.

What does your name mean? What if it meant “unwanted.” What if people only refered to you as “unwanted.” That is the fate of many girls in India. Boys are highly favored over girls in this country. India accounts for the termination of some ten million female fetuses over the past 20 years. Hospitals are currently banned from revealing the baby’s gender during ultrasounds because of so many gender related abortions which have led to a drop in the sex ratio. Many of the girls born in India are named “Nakusa” or “unwanted” by their father or grandfather. Can you imagine being called “unwanted” every day and even more, being treated as someone who is unwanted?

Recently, 285 Indian girls participated in a renaming ceremony. They shed the name they all had in common for names meaning “Very Tough” or “Rock Hard.” A name may not seem much to you or I, but it gives these girls hope and a new beginning. We may not even think about what our own names means. It may not be a big deal at all. But to these girls, it is everything. Today it means a fresh start, a new beginning, a new being. A move away from being unwanted and a move toward being someone.

Read more about the renaming ceremony here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/285-indian-girls-shed-unwanted-names-14792255

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