We had Emerson's naming celebration last weekend and I wanted to share the speech we made at it and some pictures for those who were not able to be there. So here is to the best of my memory what we said transcribed below. Click on the pictures to go to our flickr page and see many more.
Opening reading by Grandpa Ron, from Self Reliance:
”Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakspeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakspeare will never be made by the study of Shakspeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.”
The reason we wanted to have a naming ceremony is to present Emerson to the people who will be his community. It ensures that the child is a part of something greater, and places the child under the protection of those present. One of the things that is important to us is diversity of exposure to culture and belief systems. Represented by the people we invited. In this room we have Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Atheists. And we want our son to be exposed to all of these systems. It is our hope that you will all share with Emerson you particular insights while joining us in encouraging him to be open to and explore all ideas to arrive at the truth.
Introduction of Emerson
We had picked out Emerson's name within a few weeks of finding out Anilia was pregnant. I think most people probably deliberate over this a little longer. But it did not take much time for us to arrive at a name that we could both agree on. The namer Emerson has the obvious connection to Ralph Waldo Emerson. And we both really liked what he had to say on a lot of things. Of course I don't agree with everything he had to say but most of it we feel was pretty in line with our thinking. Particularly Self Reliance and the idea of spiritual transcendence through the natural experience.
The name Albert was a family name on both of our sides as well as Anilia's best friend and her brother's middle names are both Albert. Of course there is also reference to Albert Enstein and Albert Schweitzer both of whom were pretty cool cats.
I wanted to share something that my Aunt Sarah Hornsby had sent to us. She wrote a book called In the Name of Jesus which is a name meaning book with an obvious Christian point of view. And she looked up Emerson Albert in it and this is what she found:
"Emerson meaning from old german – son of emery
emery meaning home
Literal Meaning from Old German: EMERY'S SON
EMERY is from Old German: HOME RULER
Flower: Gladioli, Snapdragon, Oak Leaves, Garlic, Ginger
Godly Quality: BRAVE, STRONG
Isaiah 12:2 'Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.' "
So I thought that was pretty neat, regardless of what you believe I think can be incorporated somehow. She goes on:
"I love how Emerson's name reflects family - being son of Emery, and the flowers are not just pretty, but strong: just think of the tall spikes and strong colors of the Gladioli and Snapdragon, of stately Oak trees so firmly rooted, growing tall, aging and spreading forth through the years with shelter and nourishment, combined with the herbs, Garlic and Ginger - both pungent and healing plants. (Perhaps you remember us at Mombacho walking the path to the butterfly house that was lined with ginger flowers, so divinely fragrant.)"
Mombacho is a volcano on Nicaragua where my family visited last summer. While we were there we stayed at another volcano called Ometepe, the island of peace which is made from two twin volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua. The volcano we stayed on was aptly named Conception, so... well that was what we did.
So then she goes on to the name of Albert:
Literal Meaning from German: 'athal' NOBLE, and 'berht' SHINING, BRILLIANT, ILLUSTRIOUS
Flower: EDELWEISS, CLOVER, LILY
Godly Quality: MAN OF HONOR
Hebrew 1:3 'And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. WOWOWOW
Clearly the Name you chose for your son represents all that one could hope for one's child as he grows to responsible manhood. To become a Man of Honor, Noble, Shining, Brilliant, Illustrious is a glorious blessing and dream, that takes many years and hard knocks to grow into. The flowers for Albert are Edelweiss, the fragrant national flower of Austria, sweet and nourishing clover (picturing fields covered with clover and being grazed by contented, fat, moist-eyed cattle, and the Lily, which represents Easter Joy! "
We also have a brach of the family in Austria that was was a neat little tie in there as well. So we thought that was pretty cool. Now like I mentioned earlier we have these little sheets here for everyone to write down a blessing for Emerson. So if you think you can top that, just scrawl something down on one of these sheets and drop in the basket there and we will collect them all together to put in a book for him.
I'd like to wrap this up with another quote from Emerson. This was Frank Llloyd Wrights favorite quote (at least his favorite Emerson quote.)
'Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you... Build, therefore, your own world.'
From "Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
So please stick around there is plenty more food and drinks and Jay Kishor will be playing some music for us now.