When it comes to having children, there are many things a parent does not choose, such as eye and hair color, personality, what the child will look like, and whether it will be born healthy. One thing the parent does choose is the child’s name.
What name to give a person, made in the image and likeness of God, is an important and often difficult decision. A person’s name is their hallmark, which will signify their identity for the rest of their life. In the Jewish tradition, the name a parent gives a child is its essence. When you think about it, the gift of naming a child bears with it an enormous responsibility and perhaps that goes without saying. After all, this act of giving is ultimately an act of love.
When asked about his reasons for being pro-life during the Vice-Presidential debate on Thursday night, Paul Ryan told the story of naming (rather, nicknaming) his first child:
You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, “Bean.” Now, I believe that life begins at conception. That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life.
That name, Bean, tells the story of a heartbeat, of a person, of a tiny human figure, loved by its mother and father and infinitely loved by God; a child whose life began at conception. That’s everyone’s story, or at least it should be.