A recent New York Times article highlighted a loosely collaborative project between the grandson of Tolkien and the great-great-grandson of Dickens.The project consists of two YA fantasy novels by Michael Tolkien that will be narrated in audiobook by Gerald Dickens.
Individuals like Tolkien and Dickens had such a widespread influence that even generations after their deaths, their names carry clout.
That’s the degree to which they impacted the world around them through their stories. By no means did their books represent the sum total of their personalities, but hearing their names brings certain character traits to mind which were reflected in their works.
Publishers seek to take advantage of the fame attached to these names to sell books, and it’s an effective strategy because readers are drawn to names. The name on the cover of a book offers a promise of a certain type of story, and as I reader I’ve selected books based my previous experience with certain authors. I see the name, and I’m inclined to purchase the book, because in the past I’ve enjoyed their stories.
However, the impact of a name applies to more than the world of reading and writing–it’s part of our everyday lives. While we may not have the impact of a Tolkien or Dickens, we all have spheres of influence. So what do we want our name to bring to the minds of those around us?
A name becomes a demonstration of character, whether we’re aware of it or not. For example, when I think of a dear friend of mine, her traits of zeal and passion for God along with her compassion toward those around her immediately come to mind.
So our names reflect aspects of our personality and character, which is perhaps why Proverbs 22:1 says “a good name is more desirable than great riches.” It’s not the name itself, but what it demonstrates about our hearts.
Our words (written and spoken) and our deeds become connected with our names, so it’s worth reflecting on what sort of character we’re displaying…because it may be remembered for years to come.
Image credit: pupski