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.
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!)
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?