Yesterday my Business Partner Joyce and I (and our trusty helper David) printed, alphabetized, decorated and assembled all the name badges for one of our upcoming conferences. It is a tedious task, one we have done SO many times. We have pretty good system down. This conference is called Circles of Caring and last year I foolishly cut all the name badges into circles out of that thin foam stuff and hand wrote all 200 names...... never again.....this time I bought lots of lovely circle stickers and we had fun sticking them to the usual name badge shape. I like how they turned out - each one is unique!
As I print the names and assemble the badges I think of the person..... I know a good number of these people and some I just know because they come every year and I recognise their name. Sometimes we stumble over the names, sometimes we wonder about their heritage, we observe that "Smith" has given way to "Wong" as the most common name.......When they arrive at conference they line-up by last name but seeing as I have dealt with their names so often through the registration process I can usually greet them by first name too - it takes some of them by surprise.
It strikes me that a name is such a powerful thing.
This is not big news, I realise - anyone who has named a child (or a pet) knows the agony that that process can be. I know I nearly drove Allan crazy because for me, the name must mean something, there must be a connection and the initials cannot spell anything...... and for his part, as a teacher, he has taught to many kids that he has a good number of names that conjure such negative images/thoughts etc that he struck them from THE LIST.
I have been working on using people's names in my encounters with them. Not just saying "Hi, How are you?" but actually focusing on that encounter and saying "Hi Kim, How are you?" My office is badly oriented and my back is to my office door when I am on the computer and so as people are coming in in the morning they say "Hello" or "Good Morning" and by the time I swivel around they have gone by the door - I used to mumble something back to whomever it was but now I am looking up as I hear the door open and trying to greet everyone by name. It's not for them.... really.... but for me... I want to connect meaningfully with people around me at work, at Jazzercise, when shopping etc. I am not that social of a person so I never used to ask people's names but now I do, often, and it makes a big difference (even on the phone). It forms the connection right away and people feel noticed.
Of course blogging takes that away - I don't know who is reading and when..... so I can't greet you by name, but I am no less thankful for your connection to my writing. To those who have written back, or commented, I thank you for connecting back to me - it's a very neat part of this whole experience for me.
Thanks for reading today..... Hope you had a great weekend.