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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Friday, August 11, 2006

Name origins

Sierra was asking what her name meant tonight, so I explained about the Sierra Nevada mountains and how she was named after them. I thought "Sierra" had more to do with the word "mountain", but I was incorrect. It refers to "saw" which is used to describe the mountain (saw-tooth mountains) range in California.

Jalen wanted to know about his name of course (Jalen means "calm" and Kai means "ocean"...where oh where did we go wrong with that??), then Jared (one who rules) and Trevor (prudent).

I got curious about Ren. I never thought about the meaning much, after all, I started life as Karen Bidwell and have been called Ren by some people since 1984. It started as a nickname and eventually felt like the only right name. I don't even like being called Karen anymore...it doesn't fit. Sometimes a name is chosen for you and sometimes you choose your name. I did the latter.

So I looked up Ren, which isn't easy. It's got roots in both Egyptian and Japanese culture, but not as a name. In the Ancient Egyptian culture it actually meant "name" and was one of the parts of the soul to them.
The Japanese definition was more interesting to me. It means "to link" and "gather together".

I've long felt that one of my greatest strengths in life was bringing people together. Whether for events, groups or social gatherings, I love to bring people together. So it was kinda cool that it had a similar definition in Japanese culture. The article I linked was all about it's use in writing....a bit technical, but interesting nonetheless.

In the words of Johnny Depp:
“They stick you with those names, those labels -- ‘rebel’ or whatever; whatever they like to use. Because they need a label; they need a name. They need something to put the price tag on the back of.”"

I'll take the label Ren...it seems to suit me alright. To hell with the other labels.:)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ren,
I just wanted to say I love your blog! This is the first time I've commented (I think), but I love to read your posts. They are real and help me reaffirm our families unschooling. Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog in the future...

8:00 PM  
Blogger diana said...

Ooooh, I love this discussion! I'd wondered and wondered about your name... finally deciding that you *had* to have had the coolest mommy ever - and I know you did!
I met my friend Christine in 1990, she was Chris then, only Christine for me (I was moved by the spirit, can't explain it!) and now, all these many years later, she's grown into Christine and completely away from Chris.
Mitchell is a form of Michael, whom I always think of in the saintly, dragon slaying way...
Hannah means Grace, duh!
Hayden means Hedged valley (as a Leo born the year of the tiger... does his name imply a caged cat??)
Diana, well, we all know she's just the coolest moon goddess ever ::bg::
We're all middle named Lee/Lea, which is pasture or meadow... I'd like to think we all have this amazing oxygen supply at our center! (in researching this, I discovered a different pronounciation (we say lee) the girl spelling is the goddess of canoes (said lee-ah)... dang, there's an implication I didn't expect... gonna go to my own blog with this one!) Thanks for the inspiration, yet again!!

2:42 AM  
Anonymous lesa said...

my daughter has been very interested in name origins lately, too... she has this great book that my mom picked up for her called "1001 incredible things for kids on the internet" by ken leebow... in it she found a link to www.behindthename.com. she's been on it everyday for about 2 weeks now, looking up every name of every person she can think of. :)

so, if you have any other links on the topic, i'm sure she'd LOVE to have them :)

12:46 PM  

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