What’s In A Name?

By: Roshanda Pratt

Today, I was called the wrong name. It happens often.  When you have a name that is not “common” people have a tendency to well make up one for you.  My name is Roshanda, which I pronounce as Ro-shon-da.  It probably should be pronounced Ro-shan-da however, I do not like that pronunciation, and I never have, it sounds pretentious to me.  My mother and father were expecting a boy; Lo and behold they got another girl! As the name story goes, my mother says she was reading “Jet” Magazine a weekly magazine targeted toward African American readers, founded in 1951 according to Wikipedia. My mom says she saw some person in the magazine with the name “Roshanda,” she thought it was different and decided to go with that one.  Hence, I was named Roshanda.  Now, for anyone who has ever read “Jet” each issue includes the beauty of the week. When I tell the story on how my name came to be, I say, I was named after the beauty of the week.

Hey there gorgeous!

Growing up I never liked my name much.  Seriously, what is a “Roshanda?” I was the only one in my class surrounded by an abundance of “Jennifer’s.”  By the way, Jennifer was a popular name in the 70’s. Matter of fact, my five imaginary friends were all named, you guessed it, Jennifer.  My uncommon name hang-ups weren’t just at school, but when I got home too.  My older sister is named Lisa. Yes, you heard correctly, Lisa. My sister, like most, would torment me with the story about being adopted since my name was not as common as hers. (Evil sister!)

Senior Year at AC Flora High School

Seriously, what’s a name anyway?  In a day when people name their children after fruit, a color in the crayon box, or even just make it up what’s the big deal?  Well, a lot.  When I decided to have my own children a lot of thought went into the name.  I thought about it all. I said the name, I screamed the name, and I imagined what it would look like on a graduation program and how the initials would look on a monogrammed tote.  I may have been a little obsessive, but I know what it is like to have an unusual name.  My husband and I really wanted names that connected with our faith in Christ.  So when it came to our daughters name we prayed and hence the name: Jael Kaelyn.  Jael is a Hebrew named pronounced (Yah-el).  I like the Hebrew pronunciation, but knew people would not get that right.  So we call her (Jah-el). Her whole name means: strength of God delivered.  And I can testify He certainly has! All of our children have significance in their name.  The reason is simply in the Bible people named their children based upon where they were going or where they left.  There is power in a name.  I believe what we name our children has a great significance on who they will later become.

So what is a “Roshanda?”  According to my years of research (online) it is a Sanskrit or Hindi name which means “shining light.”  I hope I live up to my name “shining a light” for Christ to those around me.  Now, as a thirty-something woman, I have no problem with my name, now I actually like it.  I even discovered there is a world of us, Roshanda’s out there.  We even have a Facebook group.  So when I am called “Rhonda” (insider. Lol.) or people are not sure to say my name as Ro-shan-da or Ro-shon-da, it doesn’t really matter, because I am doing exactly what my name means…shining a light.

How about you? Do you like your name? If you could change it, what would you change it to and why?


One thought on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Love it!!! I’ve always had “name” issues . . . Yep – everyone knows me as Crissie, but, in truth, Crissie is in no part of my name. My given name at birth was Heather Crystal or Crystal Heather – long and short of it was it was supposed to be Heather Crystal, but the hospital messed up and put it Crystal Heather. My birth certificate and passport read this way, but my SS card always read Heather Crystal and so did ALL of my school records. How my parents circumnavigated that one I will NEVER understand. The when I married, having never really like Crystal, dropped it totally – changing it to Heather Miller Kirby, thus confusing the “Crissie” issue further. I swore that when I had children I would call them by one of their given names, preferably their first. Alas, that was NOT the outcome and BOTH of my boys goes by his middle name; I figure I did okay, at least Pierce and Smith are clearly on their birth certificates, SS cards, and school records. I just try to remember that “a rose by any other name still smells as sweet”. And I think you certainly live up to the shining light definition – feel blessed to know you!

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