Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's In A Name??

When I was born my mother named me Sarah. Sarah means Princess. I like my name.
But....my dad called me Sally. He thought Sarah was too formal. He was well intentioned.
 My mother went along with my dad and called me Sally.
Consequently, the name Sally stayed with me.......until I was eighteen and went away to college. At that time I told all the new people I met that my name was Sarah.....Eventually, the name Sally disappeared.....I enjoyed being known by my given name. I felt like a new person. I felt comfortable as Sarah.
Now, I don't want to offend anyone with the name of Sally or Sallie..It's just not my name. My name is Sarah.

Growing up, at the beginning of every school year, I had to explain to my teachers why the name people called me was different from my given name. One year, a high school art teacher made a big deal about the evils of a nickname....From my perspective, she was telling me and everyone within earshot that my parents were negligent by giving me a nickname.

After that, I vowed that once I left home, I would be discarding the name Sally and going by my proper and right name, Sarah.
My mother's sister is also named Sarah. And.... people also call her Sally. You may already have figured this out..... Yes, she was known as Big Sally and I was Little Sally. To me, the only thing worse than being called Sally was being called LITTLE SALLY!!

No one ever thought to ask me what named I preferred. If they had, I would have told them that Sarah is my name....

Recently, via Facebook, I have become reacquainted with my high school classmates. Of course, they all know me as.....Sally. Some of them have asked me why I changed my name......They had no idea that my name has always been Sarah.

Because of all this nickname mania, I never wanted any of my children to have a nickname. But, over the years, a few have acquired nicknames. Some of them have even given themselves nicknames. Joshua likes to be called Josh; Alison wants to be known as Ali, Michael is Mike; Abigail is Abby.......

Does it really matter if a person is given a nickname???  Well, I think it depends on the person. For myself, I obviously would have preferred to have been known as Sarah. My children, while liking nicknames, are also known by their given names. They interchange names at will.

I think it should be up to the person if they are called a nickname. It's just something for a parent to think about. Are you calling your child by a nickname? Have you asked them what they think about the name?

Not everyone wants to be known by a nickname, especially if it's significantly different from their given name. As you can obviously see, calling me by a nickname, especially one so different from my given name, has been difficult. So, new parents might want to think about forcing a nickname on their child. If the nickname comes naturally, and the child has no objections, then there is probably nothing to worry about.

However, some people just don't want to be called by a nickname. It's courteous to ask them what they think about their nickname. That's also  something to think about.....

4 comments:

MayLove said...

I can see your point. My given name is Katherine, and I've always been called "Katie" which I don't mind at all. However, I HATE when people call me "Kathy." Some people will see the name "Katherine" and just assume I go by, and thus start calling me "Kathy" Especially in those circumstances, I think people should ASK what you go by, or want to be called. I don't think I have ever come across someone who's family gave them a nickname they didn't like. Just curious if you ever told anyone you didn't like being called "sally" or "little sally"- or was it the type of family where it wouldn't have made a difference? I'm sorry you had to deal with that. On another note, and yes this is totally self absorbed, there are times when I see people who have terrible nicknames and it annoys me. My sister in law has two sons who both have first and middle names. I've known my SIL for almost 4 years, and the kids always went by the first names. All of a sudden last year she started calling them JT and AJ. I find it beyond irritating. Their names aren't that long, you don't NEED to address them by their middle name, and they sound like stupid boy band members. I HOPE one day they will tell her they hate the nicknames because I sure as heck hate them!

Sarah said...

Hi, Katie!! Thank you for commenting on this post. I hope you comment again!
I never asked my family to not call me Sally. The fact is, they never called me Sarah....not even once. I can never remembering either of my parents calling me by my given name. In my heart of hearts I think that as a little girl I thought they felt they made a mistake by naming me Sarah. While never asking, my parents just told me that my father thought that Sarah was too formal...
That being said, my brother now introduces me as Sarah. I told him that he can still call me Sally because, actually, at this stage of the game it seems a bit awkward and unnecessary for him to start calling me Sarah...

I like the name Katherine! I like Katie, too. I agree with you that people, for some odd reason, think it's okay to call people by nicknames without even asking....My brother's name is James. People will automatically call him Jimmy. He hates it and has no qualms about telling them so...

I'm also with you on the initial thing...When I hear someone addressed by their initials, I think there must be something wrong with their given name...

Again, thank you so much for your opinion!!
Best Regards,
Sarah

BillySue said...

I don't mind nicknames, but I don't like offensive ones. I know you hate me being called "poison ivy" at taekwon-do and I completely see why. I understand my name is Ivy and i love my name! but I feel like poison Ivy is ok because it is for the Taekwon-do arena. I believe when people at taekwon say poison ivy it is a lot like when people in sports get nicknames. Like "mr. 3000" in baseball or "big muscles" in wrestling. However if someone not from taekwon- do called me poison Ivy i would tell them to stop because my name is Ivy.

In other cases not involving taekwon do nicknaming, i have been called certain non-offensive nicknames. I don't really mind if friends call me a nickname. I feel like it shows friendship or companionship. However, i don't want people that i am not friends with calling me a nickname.

Sarah said...

Thanks for your input, Ivy!! At first, I was upset at the "poison ivy" reference at TKD....As a mother, it's bothersome because the name Ivy means friendship and loyalty...But, after awhile, I came to see how Poison Ivy could be okay while in the TKD arena...It doesn't bother me so much anymore...
You made some really good points concerning nicknames....Miss BillieSue....LOL