The Value of Naming Things

What I learned by getting away from it all.



The other month I half-jokingly told Kim that I needed a vacation from the kids. To my surprise, she insisted. So off I went.

It was amazing. Not because of where I was or what I did, but because I was alone. Gloriously alone.

You see, I’m an introvert in the classic sense that my battery is recharged by silence, solitude, ideas, order, reflection, etc.

And it’s drained by crying, toys everywhere, someone always being sick, policing playtime, issuing timeouts, endlessly getting snacks, changing a billion diapers, wiping noses, bucking/unbuckling, more crying…and all while simultaneously trying to get things done in grown up world.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. They are insanely cute, intelligent, creative, inquisitive, sweet, fun-loving, etc. And I know that parenting is privilege. But at 4, 2, and 8 months old, it’s just a lot of work right now.

It was almost like I had to get away from it all and experience the contrast in order to recognize that this particular season of parenting is not my favorite and while I can enjoy my children being so young, I can also look forward to when they’re a bit older and family life is less reactive and more proactive.

Just naming that was so helpful for me.

It was like, “Okay, this is what this is. This is where we’re at. This is where I hope to be. And this is how I’ll handle it for now (deep breaths and lots of prayer).”

If you can’t name something, it’s really hard to get a handle on it. We name people, places, and things for a reason; doing so provides order, clarity, efficiency, and structure. Imagine trying to visit a new store in a new place if there were no names:

“Turn left at the big thing, right at that bumpy part, keep going past those tall things, you’ll cross a watery spot but then need to go right past this loud thing…until you finally arrive at that place where those people sell that stuff.”

Aren’t you glad it’s not like that?

And naming things isn’t just pragmatic. It’s also a way of expressing value. We name things we love. We name things we hate. But we could care less about naming things we’re indifferent to. If you don’t care about something, you don’t name it.

Naming things also makes them materialize. It moves them from mere thoughts and ideas to actual concepts, plans, priorities, actions.

So let me ask…what are you going through in your life right now that needs to be named?


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