Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Pity the child called "Isis"

and yes there is one in this morning's paper. She was, of course, named after the Egyptian goddess. What is more she is eight years old.
Eight years ago we did not know about Isis and her parents undoubtedly thought it was a pretty and unusual name. It should be. Now the poor child is apparently getting shocked looks when people hear her name.
Names can cause all sorts of problems. Mine causes problems. My brother's third name - one which has been in the family for generations - causes problems when he needs to use it. His first name however is thankfully standard. My sister's second name is spelt in the masculine rather than the feminine way. My mother had the same unusual spelling and her first name also had a rare spelling. My youngest sister has perfectly standard spelling but has never been known by her first name, only the diminutive thereof.
Oh yes, there have been problems with names in this family. My father says he would do things differently now.
The Whirlwind's name is a combination of her parents' names but is pronounced as if it is the male version of a name. Her father says he would do things differently now. Fortunately she has forgiven him his transgressions.
Last night we had the evening meal at my sister's place. My nephew, now a doctor, was there as well. He has a Greek name and surname and he was moaning to me that his Greek speaking patients assume he speaks Greek. Right. He speaks some Greek, a little Greek - certainly a little more Greek than I do. He does not know as much Greek as they assume. What is more his grandparents came from Cyprus. Cypriot Greek is a little different. He tries to encourage those who can to use English because other staff speak no Greek at all. People need to understand their patients.
But yesterday he had to try and help a young man who was highly distressed. He came from another cultural background and the staff were having difficulty in doing anything. When my nephew arrived he walked up to the young man and just said, "Hi, my name's...."
It did not get the young man to open up much, he's too damaged for that but it did calm him down a little. My nephew had used his own second name which was the same as that of the young man.
Names are extraordinary things in their power to hinder or help.

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