The other day a woman introduced her kids to me as Grace, Goodness and Gracious; my reaction: “wow! Powerful names.” I actually have little reasons for my astonishment by such names because I know my home country Nigeria is a place where the people are very passionate about names and identity. “POWERFUL” is definitely the right description for most Nigerian names, here we believe so much in the power of spoken words that right from birth a mother speaks with love saying the words that she believes shapes her child’s future.
“WOW”; the same reaction I get every time i introduced myself to someone, which is usually followed by “did your parents really name you that?” Oh yes they did. I would always explain to them of what i thought the reason for my name was; that the name was given to me by my grandmother, the first person to hold me in her arms when I was born and she thought “so pure”; she is Immaculate! FYI; this explanation made sense because my grandparents are devout Catholics and my grand dad is a parish knight, hence the name ‘immaculate’.
Oh boy, was I completely wrong! My mum only recently told me how my name came about. Apparently, in her young adult years she had a youth whom she mentored and absolutely loved. In her own words, this said youth was nothing but ‘perfection with a pure heart, kind. respectful and humble’.
My mum says she always thought to herself that her own daughter would bring her nothing but joy just like this girl and out of admiration for said girl, she named me after her: ‘Immaculate’. Talk about PRESSURE. Right! so I’m thinking, “pure heart, respectful, kind, humble”, am I any of those things?
Here we believe so much in the power of spoken words that right from birth a mother speaks with love saying the words that she believes shapes her child’s future.
OGHENERUEMU; my other (middle) name is a Urhobo (my Nigerian tribe) name which means “God does great things”. Ah see… another ‘powerful’ name; now, this name is the one actually given to me by my grandma. If you ever hear my parents and grandparents speak of me, one phrase you are bound to hear is “miracle baby”. Yes, they would tell you about how my birth was a display of Gods greatness.
I say all this to say: I am thankful for all the Nigerian parents that see and call out the potential in every child. Knowing and believing that their identity is found in Gods word and by the hope and faith of family and friends
Disclamer: The picture used in this post does not belong to me!!!