May 14th, 2009

The Honor of a Shared Name

My maternal grandfather was a man whom everybody loved. He was the type who would make friends in the most random places—the grocery store clerk, bank teller, gas station attendant, and everywhere in-between. Well loved and quick to complement, he is remembered for his warm heart and sincere interest in the lives of those around him.

One of my last memories of him occurred shortly after I returned home from my mission. Already declining in health and memory from congestive heart failure and dementia, Granddad was walking and remembering a little less each day. While my mother took Grandma out to run some errands, I was asked to keep Granddad company. We walked around the parking lot of his town home complex a few times, had a quick bite to eat, and then read a chapter of the Book of Mormon together. At the close, Granddad offered a prayer. Despite so many things he could have asked for in that moment, the entire prayer revolved around me. He petitioned Heavenly Father for my health, my success, and my future. He cared about and was interested in my life more than his in that moment. I was providing him company for a couple of hours, but he was providing me a worthy example and role model of what a Christlike man does.

In his honor and in remembrance of his life of service and love, we have chosen to give our new son my Granddad’s first name as his middle name. Continuing a common practice of passing family names down through the generations, it is our desire to let Granddad’s legacy live on through our son. As a parent, I can only hope that I will do an effective job at instilling these characteristic traits and virtues into my son so that he will do honor to the name he shares.

Hundreds of years ago, when speaking to his sons, the prophet Helaman explained his intent better than I could my own:

Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good. (Helaman 5:6)

So, little guy, I can’t wait to tell you stories about the man whose name you share. Chances are, you already got to know him before you were born. If so, you know what a great role model and example you have to look up to. Granddad was full of love and loved to laugh. I’m sure you two will have a lot in common.

13 Responses to “The Honor of a Shared Name”

  1. David
    May 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Well said. Choosing names can carry a lot of meaning – it’s nice when you have a good legacy to pass on to your children and names can be a good reminder of that. I liked the picture of you, and your son next to the man who’s legacy you chose to honor.

  2. Russ
    May 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    We did the same.

  3. Brian Duffin
    May 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    Connor, congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your son.

    I still remember the nervous excitement I felt when my son was born. Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility, but a great blessing as well (try to remember the blessing part when your son won’t let you sleep at night).

    Giving your son a name to remind him of a righteous legacy will surely bless his life and be a constant reminder for him to hold to the iron rod.

  4. JHP
    May 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    That’s great, Connor. I’ve often had similar sentiments. I want to give my children names that mean something special, whether they’re named after a relative or a man or woman I highly esteem. Most people only have one or two names (first and often middle) so why not use the opportunity to remind them of something important?

    Oh, also, I used to not like my middle name when I was younger because it wasn’t a standard guy name, but as I’ve grown it’s been a blessing to me to be named after my maternal grandparents, i.e. my mom’s maiden name is my middle name. It’s a constant reminder to me of the great people that they were.

  5. Kathryn Skaggs
    May 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    Connor –

    I’m so thrilled that your new son is here. What a blessing to bear such a powerful legacy, through his granddad’s name. Two of my daughters just gave birth to sons. Both of them chose to use their Father’s name, as the middle name, too.

    I have no doubt that your granddad is more than pleased. My husband is a pretty humble guy, but I have seen him walk a bit taller, and even brag a little – being so honored.

    tDMg

  6. Carissa
    May 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    Congratulations! Hope you enjoy your adventures as a parent!

  7. Reach Upward
    May 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Congratulations.

    I like giving children ancestral names, as long as they are associated with positive models. Each of my five children bears the name of at least one progenitor. I note that my siblings have also carried this tradition in the naming of my nieces and nephews, although, it was not a strong tradition of my parents.

    I haven’t been much in favor of using non-ancestral names that have a significant religious connotation. I have known too many people that have chosen not to live up to such names.

  8. Krystal
    May 14, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    So so sweet. What a memorable experience you had with him! Love the name….and love the walk down memory lane. He truly was the best Granddad wasn’t he? I miss him. Wish I could be there to meet my new little first cousin, once-removed, or second cousin, or whatever you call this little guy to me :) Good luck with the coming days and months!

  9. James
    May 14, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Long live Granddad’s peanut butter sundaes!

  10. Sean
    May 14, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Congrats Connor! There’s nothing quite like having children. They are God’s testimony of hope to the world.

    We named our first son Benson, in part after Ezra Taft Benson. I admire President Benson in many ways, and it means a little something extra to me that my son carries his name.

  11. ldsliberty
    May 15, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Connor, Congrats on the new baby. Children really are a great source of happiness in this life.

    I’ve given all of my children middle names that I hope will help them to remember their good works (Jefferson, Madison, & Benson).

  12. Josh Williams
    May 16, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    Gratz to you and your wife!

    Protip: Don’t take your job as a father TOO seriously :)

  13. Dustin
    May 18, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    So his middle name is Granddad? :) j/k
    Nice tribute. Our childrens’ middle names have meaning to them as well. The first names, no so much… named the boys after hall of fame baseball players :D It is interesting though how we have noticed similar character and even physical traits of their namesakes as they have grown.

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