What’s in a name?

On Tuesday I attended the Kenda Creasy Dean day conference at the Oxford Centre for Youth Ministry. It was a fantastic day (except for the roadworks outside the Park and Ride) and I can’t wait until I find the time to read through Kenda’s three books properly instead of simply dipping into them. As I left CYM I found a quiet coffee shop and sat for an hour an re-read my notes (there’s a first!) and made a whole load more – testament to the quality of the content presented on the day.

The strangest experience of the day was meeting some of the bloggers who have been on my “regular reads” list for the last year or two. I recognised Sarah from the picture on her blog (although I was disappointed that she wasn’t wearing her wedding shoes); stood close by was someone I thought I recognised, but had no idea where from. It turned out to be Lev – I guess his picture is a better likeness than I expected.

Things got even stranger during lunch. I was sitting chatting with a few people when someone came bounding up and started talking to me as if they knew me, asking questions about how the Engage course is going, etc. I tried to be polite and play along – but as much as I tried I couldn’t work out who on earth it was, so I asked. He simply introduced himself as YouthBlog – and suddenly it all made sense. Also during the course of lunch I was introduced to two more bloggers, both introduced by their blog title and not their own name. One was Holy Phil (the infamous Phil G) and the other was On Me Bus, whose real name (Simon) I had to look up on his blog.

One theme of the day was excellent thought-provoking content, another was people being introduced by their blog title and not their name. The third theme of the day was the way the phrase “oh, EasyRew – yeah, you haven’t blogged for a while have you…” was dropped into every conversation within seconds of an introduction. So here I am blogging again – and I have four other half-written posts waiting in the wings. As this post has been uninspiring and largely content-free, I thought I’d link to something potentially useful, and on a slightly related topic. Yesterday I spotted this article entitled The Name Game on the Life Hack blog. In the context of getting good service it discusses the importance of using names when meeting new people and introducing yourself to others. Some of the advice will also be useful in the context of our contact with Young People.

People love hearing their own name. It’s something built in. For whatever reason, it makes a little touch, a “ping” against our inner validity when people know and remember our names.

I have an appalling memory – especially for names (I’ve already forgotten most of them from Tuesday – but some beards were quite memorable). Does anyone have any good advice or tips?  How do you remember the names of the young people you minister to?

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