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How I Named My Kids
By: Aristotle Dadiz
July 7, 2010
Seven years ago, as young couple, we were very excited what to name our first baby specially when we got the result of my wife's ultrasound and finally knew the gender. I remember looking for names in the Bible and actually considered the name "Rachab". It was fair enough because for no apparent reason, I just changed my mind. Later on, I learned that Rachab was a prostitute whom God used to assist the Israelites in occupying Canaan. It was definitely a relief not calling our firstborn after a prostitute (though used by God). In this notion, I am sure all dads agree with me.
While still not decided for a name, I would say, I like reading credits whenever I watch movies particularly because I am always interested to take note of the copyright; and most copyright are right at the very end of the closing credits. So I would read every name. That is, when I am able to catch up with the rate of speed as the credits are rolling down. I realized that most names are short and rarely more than one, like: Lea, Susan, Lucy, among other familiar names. I told myself, I will name my daughter with a short one, easy to remember, easily pronounced, and easy to write. And so, the search was narrowed down. No more double, triple, long names to complicate the matter.
The next thing I did was reflect on myself and my name. Naturally, Greek philosophers and ancient scientists came to mind since I have the same name as the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. However, my Mother told me I was named after the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis as she was dreaming that I will also be a rich man. Probably not as rich as Ari Onassis, just the typical Filipino notion of “rich,” living a comfortable life. Now here’s the connection, Mr. Onassis became rich in the shipping industry and I became a sailor. Ari Onassis was an Oil Tycoon and I work now in the oil and gas sector. A bit strange, if you ask me. I even had a Greek assistant named Corianitis Panagiotis when I was employed as chief engineer on board a pleasure yacht. (And that too is a strange name.)
Moreover, as I dwelt on my name, I remembered as a teen-ager how I used to print my name backwards on walls. (Yes, I am one of those brats). Instead of “ARI” I would write “IRA”. Ari is my nickname and this is how I’m called at home and in our hometown in Ilocos Norte. “Ari” in the Ilocano dialect means “king.” But when we moved to Manila where I continued my high school, Ari didn’t sound good anymore specially when pronounced with a different stress like the way the Bisayas do. It would denote a very odd meaning, “ari ng lalake” which means, a man’s genital. So I started introducing myself as Aris, although when read backwards is “SIRA” meaning idiot; but if you include my last name, Aris Dadiz, when read backwards it would be, SIRA ZIDAD, meaning, “My dad is an idiot.” Poor dad.
Anyway, going back to IRA... Ira is said to be a male name, usually Dutch, but it’s also a female name. It does sound feminine to me. In the Bible, Ira was the chief adviser of King David (See 2 Sam. 20:26), and the name means watchful or wakeful. When I learned this, I became sure I’d like my daughter called “IRA”. And my wife Lyn was very pleased.
When Ira was a baby, she was always awake mostly at night and would cry if not cradled. That’s wakeful. I also remember vividly when Ira was just about 9 months old and my wife and I had a serious fight, Ira stared at us with a very serious look and acted as if she wanted to say, “Stop fighting”. I call that watchful. She’s now seven and she still does that today. The only difference is that she can talk very clearly and quite reasonably like an adult.
Further, it was easy to name our second child since we started this backward thing. We called our son, "NYL", obviously named after her mom, LYN. I compare his name to the Latin word “Nil” meaning, nothing or zero. In the state of Colorado, they have a motto that says, “Nil Sine Numine” meaning "Nothing without the Divine Will." We are nothing without Jesus (The Name above all names). We are nothing without a personal relationship with Him. On the other hand, zero °C is the freezing point of water, hence, Nyl is cool.
Nyl indeed is a very sweet and loving angel. You can see the humility in him particularly with how he treats his cousins. He knows how to give and share his toys and he listens to my instructions. By the way, Nyl was born on my birthday. Yes, we have the same birthdate. It has been this fifth year I am having a children’s party on my birthday. I would say to Nyl, “Happy birthday son.” And he would say, “Happy birthday Dad.” I tell you, it always sounds magical to my ears.
My wife just delivered our third child FAE, a baby girl. They’re the ones who inspired me to write this anecdote. “Fae” means Faith, as we are saved thru faith in Jesus. The “AE” is the first and last letter of mine and my wife’s name, Aristotle and Annalyne.
If we will be blessed in the future with another son, we will call him ÁCÉ (eysi). As mentioned, “A and E” is the first and last letter of my name and my wife’s which leaves “C” in the center. “C” stands for CHRIST who should be the center in our lives.
To God be the glory in giving wisdom to me and Lyn giving our offspring lovely and godly names.
Specially dedicated to my wife Lyn and to my children Ira, Nyl, and Fae.