Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Bitter Lesson

These days, a lot of people give their children "modern names." I notice that many of them derive from place-names (Savannah, Sydney) or family names (Lincoln, Harrison). I've also noticed some recurring suffixes on many of them. There are the -son names (Grayson, Madison), the -ton names (Peyton, Kingston, Paxton), the -er names (Gunner, Piper, Skyler). Tom and I do not like the idea behind most of these modern names. Not only are we traditionally-minded people to begin with, but our Catholic faith makes us desire to name our children after Saints or other holy people, instead of making up new names merely for the sake of originality.

A few days ago, feeling particularly annoyed at modern names after coming across several in a book I was reading, I sat down to compile a list. I titled it "Stupid Modern Names,"divided it into boy and girl columns (and I'll add that many times it was actually difficult for me to figure out if a name was supposed to be male, female, or both), and started searching my memory for ones I had heard. I was looking forward to sharing it with Tom later. I imagined we'd have a good laugh/sneer together, and feel a sense of bondedness over our shared distaste for modernity.

So later that night, I handed him the list with a smile. I said proudly, "look what I made." Tom glanced at the title, then looked back at me, asking, "seriously?" He began to quickly scan the list, his face falling into a frown. "You shouldn't do this," he said.

Immediately, I felt like a chastised child. I really had hoped to please my husband with my amusing little list, and here I was getting reprimanded. I no longer wanted to look him in the eye, so I angled myself slightly sideways as he continued. "Actually writing a list of things that annoy you will just make you dwell on it. It will only turn you into a bitter person. You shouldn't do that."

I knew he was right. But it never feels pleasant to get called out on something - to have to admit that your intentions weren't actually pure. I didn't respond to him. Instead, I dejectedly took back the list, and turned back to what I was doing. I just didn't know what to say.

But his words stuck with me, and I realize that I do this a lot. I often read articles about immoral things like abortion or the birth control pill, because in some disordered way, I think I enjoy feeling really annoyed and superior about things. So I plan to be vigilant about this from now on.

I'm glad I do have someone to call me out on things like this.


  1. This is a really good post. I do this same thing, all too often. Especially reading articles about abortion, etc, I get so fired up about it and just fume and rant, and feel good because I "know better." But really, that may be true, but the other side to it is that I'm being incredibly prideful.

    This was a really awesome, humbling post. I really like your blog. :)

  2. Thanks, Valerie. Glad you're reading! I would check out your blog as well, but I can't figure out how to get to it. Could you send a link?

  3. Oh, I am also so guilty of this. Being humbled is difficult, but so necessary (at least for me).