Intersection of Life and Faith

<< iPod Devotionals, with Dave Burchett

I've Got A Name

  • 2011 Sep 13

Maybe it is all of the bad news on TV that causes me to want to escape and crank up some oldies on the iPod. I am sure a lot of things were bad back then but I tend to associate positive moments to music. Listening to those songs become the musical version of pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy. Comfort tunes. One of my favorite artists is songwriter Jim Croce. The song I Got a Name popped up on the oldies mix today.

Like the pine trees lining the winding road
I've got a name
I've got a name

Like the singing bird and the croaking toad
I've got a name
I've got a name

And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I'm living the dream that he kept hid

Moving me down the highway
Rolling me down the highway
Moving ahead so life won't pass me by

That song resonated with me years ago because my “daddy” did have dreams that he hid to provide for his family and to keep us together. I wanted to live my dreams and I have. But along the way I have realized that my most important name is not my last name even though I carry it proudly. Nor is it my given name.

Besides I recently found out that my given name was the source of my academic struggles. Seriously.  It came from a Yale study so it has to be true. According to a study released by a group of scholars with not enough to do, your name can determine your academic success. USA Today reported the breakthrough study.

Psychologists in marketing at Yale and the University of California, San Diego studying the unconscious influence of names say a preference for our own names and initials — the "name-letter effect" — can have some negative consequences.

Students whose names begin with C or D get lower grades than those whose names begin with A or B; major league baseball players whose first or last names began with K (the strikeout-signifying letter) are significantly more likely to strike out, according to the report published in the December issue of Psychological Science.

"We found that our own-name liking sabotages success for people whose initials match negative performance labels," the report says.

Ah-hah! Because my name starts with a “D” I never had a chance to be a great student. I was predisposed to get poor grades. If my parents had named me Albert I would be doing the meaningless studies at Yale today.

Assistant professors Leif Nelson of UCSD and Joseph Simmons of Yale conducted five studies over five years (including one lab experiment) using information from thousands of individuals: 6,398 baseball players (377 had K as either a first or last initial); 15,000 MBA students; 294 undergraduate students; 170 law schools with more than 390,000 lawyers; and 284 participants in their laboratory experiment.

The twist, Pelham says, is that he has believed the name-letter effect would apply only to positive outcomes. Nelson and Simmons, he says, are "showing it applies more so to negative things than positive things." 

So there you have it. It was not my fault that my initial showed up on my report card several times during an uninspired high school career. My name conspired against me. But since then I have added a name that has kept life from passing me by. And, defying the "name-letter" effect it begins with C.

Child (of God).

And it doesn’t matter what your given name happens to be. You can have the same designation.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent,nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.  (John 1, NIV)

Child of God.

I was looking for significance in all the wrong places. I was created to be in fellowship with God and my significance comes out of that relationship. There are lots of blessings and opportunities to serve in that Father and child relationship with God. But it all starts with trust and living out of the truth that I am a child of God. Amazing.

Child of God.

I have to admit it. I like the ring of that name.



Follow Crosswalk.com