• Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Janeane's World

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He Named Me Malala

Ever since I was a child I have heard people say, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” That is a lie! Words have power and names do hurt. Names have POWER and that is why what we name our children matters.

What we name our children helps determines how they will live their lives.




Recently, I attended a screening of the movie “He Named me Malala.” It was a documentary about the life of Nobel prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. One of the things that struck me was the story of how she got her name. Her father named her after a young girl who inspired Afghani soldiers to stop their retreat and fight for victory by telling them, “It is better to live as a lion for a day than to live as a slave for 100 years.” All her life, Malala Yousafzai has known the history of her name and that she is expected to great things  just as her namesake. Names are strong and have the power to push us to greatness.

My husband, Darren, selected the names for all four of our children. I was young when I married my husband. It was important to him and he asked me to give him that right. As a young bride I agreed. There was no religious, political or social reason. He wanted to name them, and at the time and in part due to my youth and inexperience, I did not fully understand the significance of the agreement. It was  easy for me to agree to give him naming rights, I am grateful that he had excellent taste in names and understood the significance of a child’s name.

Our first daughter is names Euphoria which means “happy, the happiest you can be.” Darren first heard that name as the name of a jazz group and the title of their album. We were dating when he heard it and I remember him declaring he would name his  daughter Euphoria. Euphoria coincidentally describes how we felt when we learned she was on the way. Her middle names are my middle name and maiden name. She was given those as a tribute to my family, a way of connecting with my side of their lineage.

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30 thoughts on “He Named Me Malala”
  1. I love all of your kids’ names. I have only named one of mine and the honor for the other three went to dad. People thought that was weird, but he did okay. 😉

  2. You are so right! There is a lot of power in a name. I’m so looking forward to seeing this movie. Malala is such an inspiration.

  3. What a great post, I loved how much thought your husband put in to picking each of your children’s names and what a great job he did!

  4. Beautiful name and such an inspiring post. I can’t wait to meet her one of these days!

  5. I have been hearing a lot about Malala lately. My father chose my name after he vetoed my mom’s first choice (because of an ex girlfriend with the same name or something like that). For my two younger brothers, my dad chose names, but my mom vetoed his original choice for being too unconventional and “too Irish”. Seamus and Malechy are names that would be considered trendy now, but 20+ years ago people would have thought they were crazy! 🙂

  6. I agree that a name plays a big role in how you grow up. You would think it did not matter so much but it does and it’s sad that a lot of the stereotypes for names really come to life. I do not have kids but when I do I will think carefully on what I name them. Thank you for sharing!

  7. My best friend and I went and saw her speak here in Denver. She is simply amazing.

  8. So very interesting that you posted this… my daughter is in Grade 4 and their school is raising money for Malala. She just asked me if this was the “same Malala that got shot in the head because she wanted to go to school”. Small world!

  9. This is a great message. Making changes step by step sounds like a great way to go. The smallest things make the biggest difference.

  10. Thankfully my husband allowed me to name all 5 of our kids. I carefully chose each one that has a special Biblical meaning.

  11. I’ve been reading about her a lot lately – I wonder if it’s because she turned 18 recently. I thought a lot about name meanings when I named my kids!

  12. Definitely want to watch this movie. She’s inspired so many people including myself. I believe the meaning of a name is important that is why I never leave it up to my husband to name our kids. He finds the weird ones. lol

  13. Such an inspiring young girl whose name will live on and stand for bravery and courage long after we’re all just dust and ashes. Thanks for writing a thought-provoking, lovely post.

  14. Names are so important and hold so much meaning. Some cultures even have naming ceremonies. Our first son’s names mean Helper and son of a wise man, and our second son’s names mean Golden and an African tribe. Love this post!

  15. You’re exactly right, words have great power and sometimes the ability to shape and mold you. Be it positive or negative.

  16. Great post, she is a powerful young woman! I agree, names have a strong influence on a child so choosing them should be done with care, you guys picked well!

  17. This was inspiring post and yes names are powerful they can hurt our child or open many doors. People tend to pass judgement based on names. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Although a name doesn’t necessarily form your future, it is important to give a great foundation and a namesake to aspire to!

  19. Great Post! I agree that the names we choose for our children have power and I love the names that you and your husband chose.

  20. Great share! Names really play a role in everything how we see ourselves and how others see us. It is important…. Glad your kids have good names.

  21. This is an amazing and inspiring post Janeane! Thank you!! I took great pains to name my children also with my ex-husband (we were in our 30s and knew the significance). But how wonderful that you are bringing attention to the small things ARE the big things. And it starts with intention. What world are we preparing our young kings and queens to enter via their names? Mine are “God’s Angel” and “Beautiful Holy Child”.

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