Friday, March 02, 2007

Little Baby Jihad

"...The German interior ministry is appealing against a decision by the Berlin authorities to allow an Islamist to name his son Jihad, the Arabic word used for holy war.

Reda Seyam fought for 18 months for permission to give his sixth child the name after the registry in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg initially rejected his application, saying the name was inappropriate because of its association with terrorism, and "may endanger the child". (source)

Most psychologists believe that our names help shape who we are:

"...The most important aspect of personality affected by names is self-concept. Self-concept develops as children develop, and it is "learned" from the verbal and non-verbal messages significant people in children's lives send them. Parents are the most important message-senders, but, as children mature and become more and more independent, the messages of teachers, classmates, and other people all contribute to their developing concepts of self. In a sense, self-concept works as a kind of script for the way people act. If a boy has an image of himself as bad or as not capable of doing well in school, his behavior will probably reflect that image. He will tend to behave the way he thinks a "bad boy" is supposed to behave, or he will fail to learn as he should even though he might be quite intelligent.

A person’s name has an impact on the process of building a self-concept because the name helps determine the messages other people send the child. It has been well established through research that certain names are generally considered desirable in our culture and have positive feelings associated with them. It is also well established that other names are looked upon as being undesirable and carry negative associations. For example, Curt, David, Diane, Jeff, Judy, and Linda are all considered desirable and positive, and Agatha, Edgar, Francis, Mabel, Marvin, and Phoebe all provoke the opposite reaction (See Chapter 10 of Anderson). Because of this, people unconsciously, but nevertheless effectively, send positive and negative messages in keeping with positive and negative images..." (source)

My eldest’s best friend just told him that "his mom feels sorry for him because his name is Justice." Being the 8-going-on-35 child that he is, he told his friend, "Don't feel bad for me, I really like my name." I'm glad he's secure about it...and I always tell him that regardless of what anyone thinks, people won't remember the 400 "Mikes" and "Steves" they’ve met…but they'll always remember the "Justice".

...and the "Jihad" I guess... The Christian Justice and the Muslim Jihad --seems apropos to me.

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