wanted: perfect name

“may i know where you got your son’s name?”  this inquiry from my youngest son’s class adviser last september 15 ptc (parent-teacher conference) had me quickly giving her the story behind lancelot t.k. mediavillo gines.

i think the T.K. after lancelot was the one that arouse the curiosity of his teacher. i started by telling her that the names of my sons are very clear indication of my being an english teacher and having interest in kings and knights (i do not plan though of giving birth to 11 more sons namely Gawain, Percival, Galahad, Bors,  Kay, Gareth,  Valin, Tristan,  Lamorak,  Mordred and Brave Robin just to complete the knights of the round table of our family!). my eldest, who are fraternal twins, are named  arthur and alexander. originally though, after arthur should also be a T.K. which means The King and after alexander should be T.G. i bet you know what it means…yes, The Great. unfortunately, my husband deleted those initials when he filled out the hospital forms while i was still groggy from the delivery room. when asked why, he reasoned out that the simpler and shorter the name is, the better for our sons especially when they start writing their names. disappointed that my planned names were not followed, i kept mum since i could no longer do any changes on the information given. thus, i felt victorious when the name i thought of for our third son was followed.
T.K. stands for The Knight. but, i did a guessing game for my friends and colleagues when they asked me about the meaning of those two letters. Third Kid? big X of course! Third King? another big X! the third guess was even hilarious — Ti Koy?  (you know i was still teaching in a chinese-filipino school when i gave birth to lancelot so that explained the given meaning. in case you do not know what tikoy is, it’s  a chinese new year pudding which is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar. go to an eng bee tin bakery shop and you’ll have a taste of the different flavors.)
from The Knight came lancelot’s nickname which is KNIGHT. it was supposed to be T.K. but finally, my husband had a hand in finalizing the pet name of our son.
knight in knight (mood 1)
knight in knight (mood 1)
knight in knight (mood 2)
knight in knight (mood 2)
knight in knight (mood 3)
knight in knight (mood 3)
knight in knight (mood 4)
knight in knight (mood 4)
knight in knight (mood 5)
knight in knight (mood 5)
one of the things that i love doing is thinking of names. i think this is the short story writer in me where i had to baptize my created heroes and heroines. but you know what, i believe that parents should really be very careful in picking a name for their children. you do not want to be perpetually blamed by your sons or daughters for giving them names that become the butt of jokes. you do not even want to regret giving PRECIOUS, PRINCESS or DYOSA to your daughters if they wouldn’t live up to their names.
it’s a fact that we filipinos have these baby naming traditions. baby center at http://www.babycenter.com.ph/pregnancy/naming/filipino-names/ enumerates the following:
Natural ties
Ancient Filipinos had a deep respect for nature. They believed that certain spirits inhabited each inanimate object and natural phenomena. This leads some parents to choose nature-derived names such as Tala (star), Kawayan (bamboo) and Liwanag (light).
Keeping the faith
 Religion plays a key role in many a Filipino life. We have inherited an adapted form of the Roman Catholic faith with its multitude of saints which is why names from the Bible are consistently popular. Out of all religious icons, the Virgin Mary is the favorite. You’ll find Maria (named after the Virgin Mary) well-used as both a boy’s and girl’s name. Likewise, names like Concepcion (from the Immaculate Conception) and Rosario (from Our Lady of the Rosary) can be found sprinkled across the top names.
Family matters
With even grandparents and cousins living under your roof, family is a major part of Filipino life. Many children inherit the names of their grandfathers, grandmothers or loved ones, as a way of showing respect.
Following a pattern
Filipinos take pride in their creativity and it shows. Many choose a simple first name that can be shared by other siblings, while a second name serves to differentiate them. For example, Maria Cristina, Maria Joy and Maria Evelyn are examples of the proverbial tres marias, but their second names ensure they will never feel lost in the crowd. Filipino parents also mix elements of their first names to form unique combinations. Aside from being the Spanish word for faith, Fe got her name when her parents Fortunato and Emilia decided to get creative, taking the first letters of their names to form Fe.
in my case, i followed a pattern in naming my sons but had a touch of originality and creativity on them. i also looked for the meanings of their names so that i would be able to tell them. below are what i gave them and i included their chinese names.

ARTHUR (chinese name: ming tao)brave; galant

ALEXANDER (chinese name: li shan)leader of men

LANCELOT (chinese name: sher yong)–  the spear; warrior

you know, baby naming in chinese is also interesting. for them, it is an art form. that’s why when my kids were asked about their chinese names when they entered their first school, i had to seek the assistance of a chinese friend. it took her quite sometime in finalizing their names. according to her, she had to be careful in giving them their names because they do not only determine the child’s fate and future, but also affect the happiness of the entire family. she also paid so much attention to the meaning of each chinese character that represented their chinese names (i used to patiently write my sons’ chinese names until they learned to do it themselves).
arthur a.k.a. ming tao
arthur a.k.a. ming tao
alexander a.k.a. li shan
alexander a.k.a. li shan
lancelot a.k.a. sher yung
lancelot a.k.a. sher yung
truly, knowing the origin or the meaning of one’s name is a big deal for me. how many students have i handled in my 20 years of teaching who didn’t actually know why they were named as such?
well, i could not blame them. 
it was only in 1992 when i learned about the etymology and meaning of my name MAUREEN when a former student of mine in the grade school gave me a name card as a “pasalubong“  from her european trip. the card says:
Irish form of  Hebrew, Mary, which means : “The Wonderful”.
from then on, i was happy that i had finally known what it means. if  google were already discovered during that time, i am sure i would be able to come up with a well-written essay in college when our english professor asked us to write one entitled “what’s in a name?”.
i was only sure of one information about my name that time. where it was gotten by my parents. according to them, i was named after maureen o’ hara, a hollywood actress. it is only now that i am writing this article that i searched for her photo. lo and behold! i am honored to be her namesake.
maureen o'  hara
maureen o’  hara
so, how did i come up with the meaning of my name? i had to squeeze the creative juices of my brain. lucky that i speak the bikol language. it became my basis in giving the meaning of my name.
MA-URE-en has a slight similarity to the bikol word MA-URI-on which means jealous or envious. true enough, i had to admit, i had manifested the qualities of a jealous person…i may contradict the latter meaning because personally, i had taught myself to be contented of what i have… to add, i have been guided by max ehrmann’s  poem “desiderata” which contained these lines:
    “…If you compare yourself to others, you will become vain and  bitter;
       there will always  be greater or lesser person than yourself…”
truly, there is beauty in name giving. but a word of caution though:  make sure you are choosing  a  name that your children will be very proud of saying. remember,  it’s the name for life!

PLEASE…spare them from any future emotional torture and legal impediments.

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