Johnny Cash made it clear that “life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.” Names matter. They have meaning, purpose, and shape destinies. Naming can feel like a heavy parental responsibility. Or, choosing a name can be a joyous opportunity. Months before our firstborn entered the world, my wife and I started our search for names before we knew the gender.
A girl would be Natasha, for no other reason than Jocelyn liked the mystery of the name.
For a boy, we wanted a strong name, the kind that would suit a hero. We liked “Cory” because one meaning of the name was “brave hearted.” We chose “Daniel” for a middle name, after the Old Testament hero known for his courage, faith, and tenacity
“Congratulations. You have a boy!” And so it was settled – Cory Daniel Jones.
Twenty-five months later, Jocelyn was about to deliver our second born into the world. This time we knew the gender so our search for the perfect name was simplified. John Mark, a disciple of Jesus, caught our attention. We wanted our boy to grow up to follow Jesus and because we were living in Quebec we chose the name, Jean Marc.
Their names took on an unexpected life of their own. Jean Marc worked well for the first six years of his life while we lived in Quebec. Moving to Alberta introduced him to how a name can get messed up. His 1st grade teacher pronounced his name as “Jeanne.” His classmates told him he had a girl’s name. To them Jean (pronounced without a French accent) sounded like "Sue." We didn't want him to grow up to be a fighter so intervention was required before our first parent-teacher interview. That’s when his older brother started calling him “JM.” Ironically, both sons would become known by the initials of their name - Jean Marc as “JM” and Cory as “CJ.”
Jocelyn made up songs for the boys based on their names and serenaded the boys so often the words are on easy recall to this day.
Over time, they became respected names. The boys' athletic abilities and competitive natures earned them honors on a school-wide basis. They helped lead their teams to championships in basketball, volleyball, football, and track and field. Both boys were named “Athlete of the Year” four years running by their Junior High and had their names engraved on plaques and trophies at their High Schools.
Cory and Jean Marc are the best of friends, teammates, and heroes to each other's kids. They are living out the character of their combined names - brave, courageous, tenacious, disciples of Jesus.
What's in your name? What is the story behind how your name was chosen, especially if your name is Sue.
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