Saturday night on the coaches corner call, we discussed the importance of
remembering a person’s name, calling him by the name he wants to be called
by, and pronouncing it correctly.
What’s in a name, and what effect does it have on one’s subconscious?
I was born Willena Rose Cummins, first child and only daughter of my father.
When I was a small girl, I didn’t like being the only Willena in my entire school.
I didn’t know anyone by the name of Rose either, except for my Great Aunt
Rose, for whom I was named. I liked Aunt Rose, but saw her as old lady with
a very old-fashioned name.
My father was hospitalized off and on for two years before he died of leukemia,
when I was 7. A year later my mom remarried. We never regained the stability
we had before my father fell ill. For the next ten years we moved EVERY school
year. Always in the same town, but flip-flopping among 3 of the 5 elementary
schools. My stepfather was a kind and generous man, but “friends” at school
never let me forget that he was “the town garbage man” and an alcoholic.
By the time I reached high school, I knew most of the kids there, but I had
no close friends.
All of this magnified in my mind the fact that I was “different”, and did not fit
the mold. Being the only one with my name only magnified all the other
differences, and I felt isolated and very much a misfit.
One day when I was about 16, I was complaining to my mom about being the
only Willena in a school of 1200 students. I will never forget her response.
“Willena, have you ever stopped to think that your brown eyes and your first
name are the ONLY things your father gave you, that no one can ever take
away from you?”
Wow. THAT was a slap up the side of the head. Nine years after my father’s
death, I still missed him sorely. Even now, 52 years later (he passed away on
Aug. 3, 1960), there is a hole in my heart because I still miss him.
My mom’s simple words turned everything around for me. It didn’t matter any
more that I was “the only one”, or that people would mispronounce and misspell
my name. I wasn’t “different” any more… I was unique. I had something special
and precious, that I would cherish from that day forward. I decided that day
that I would name my first daughter Willena, making it a family tradition in
honour of my father. There are three Willena’s now. Willena Mae, Willena Rose,
and Willena Irene. And my daughter Irene hopes to pass the name on to her
The sweetest sound to a person’s ear is the sound of his own name. When
you are speaking with a client, use his name. Find out how to pronounce it,
and make sure you are pronouncing it correctly. It will mean so much to him,
and give him the feeling that he is important to you.
Lesson plan from Willena Flewelling on chapter 12 for the 30 day mental cleanse.
You can participate in the 30 day mental cleanse at http://www.30daycleanse.com
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