Names are one of the most unique identifiers a person has. People feel pride in and attachment to their name. A last name is important because of the family ties and the bond it implies to those related to you. A first name is more distinctive, picked by your parents and holds a special significance to the person possessing it. I think everyone is proud of their name, and appreciates when people use it. Referring to people by their name instead of simply addressing them as you, him, her, sir, ma’am or not using any form of identification makes a person feel special and important. To quote a Washington Post article, “A person’s name is the greatest connection to their own identity and individuality. Some might say it is the most important word in the world to that person.”
How many interactions do you have with a people in a day? Five? Ten? Fifty? One hundred? Maybe more? Think about how many times you actually use someone’s name when you interact with them. Maybe twenty percent of the time? A little more? A little less? From casually bumping into someone in the hallway and saying, “what’s up?” or buying food in the Bison and saying, “thank you”, I don’t think most people do a good job of using people’s names in everyday conversation. Remembering and using someone’s name makes them feel respected, important and also reflects well on you for remembering and using their name.
Most of us are preparing to leave Bucknell and begin new chapters of our lives elsewhere. I challenge each and every one of you to make it a point to remember and use the name of every person you interact with, starting tomorrow, April 27, 2015. See how this goes for a day. After you do it for a day, try it for a week. After a week, continue it for a month. Pretty soon, it will become a habit and see how this impacts your life and the lives of those around you. You never know how using someone’s name will impact his or her day. Sooner or later, I guarantee doing something so simple as calling everyone by their name will create a tipping point, and ultimately benefit your life, and the lives of others.