How often have you thought about the name that you were given? Do you know what your name means? Have you lived up to the wonderful meaning of your name?

I haven’t given much thought to my name in a long time until recently. For several reasons, my name is giving me a lot of respect in this community that I’ve joined. I think it’s so ironic that something so simple, as ones name, can give you a leg up or potentially initially harm ones’ reputation.

Think of these names, and what comes to mind?


Just the name Jennings.. (AKA: Peter Jennings), is now reminding all of the smokers that their lungs are quite possibly getting sicker and sicker every day. I just heard this morning that Peter Jennings death is waking up smokers all over the country about the dangers of smoking or being a former smoker.

How about the other names? It’s a mix of first and last names, and every one of them will bring up images in your mind of a person, an event, and of course, a reputation.

How about your name? Are you doing everything you can to give your name a good reputation? Are you living up to the dreams and aspirations of your forefathers? Are you a living example of all of the hard work that your parents and grandparents and those before them struggled for all of their lives?

Coming back to Florida and seeing how everyone I meet has such intense respect for my family helps me want to live up to their expectations. I see it as a challenge and as an honor that has been bestowed upon me. Its like a gift that I didn’t deserve by my own works.

Before now, My name Mary Gardner meant little more than how I told people to remember me: “Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your GARDNER grow?” But now, the GARDNER name has significance; at the school, at the church and in the community. My first name Mary also holds special sentiments around the Catholic church that I now attend. It’s special. And somehow, for the first time, it makes ME feel special. And I believe it’s changing me, for the better.

Now I feel like I want to be more poised. I want to gain more spiritual insight and wisdom. I want to be able to serve people more. I want to be a better parent. I want to be a better wife. I want to be a better friend. I want to help the community at large.

Living up to the stellar reputation that my parents and my relatives have created is going to take a lifetime of commitment and of service. But I’ve seen people seeking fame or fortune become lonely and bitter in their old age. I see now what my future holds. If I can manage to do a tenth of what my parents and family has done for others, then I will be making a difference in other peoples’ lives. I’ll be contributing to the community and helping build stronger people, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Names don’t tell everything. But they do tell something. They give us a starting point. They give us something to live up to or to live down. If you are one of the lucky ones who have a name to live up to, then strive to continue that fine reputation that has been started. If you aren’t so lucky that you’ve been given a name that has to be lived down, then do whatever you can to make YOUR name shine like sterling, so no man can find fault with you, regardless of your family.

What’s in a name? That’s entirely up to you. Your name; Your reputation, It’s up to you.

Your name is what you make it…Make it matter.

Comments from friends:
Oh my goodness Mary! Whenever I miss you I am just going to read your blog!! It’s like have all you right here!! It’s great!

You go girl!!


I just read your last 4-5 blogs…fun to read, the last one about your name is so very true. Our reputation is everything and will be the legacy we leave to our children and to those we impact.

have a great day and weekend!

Jeff, Charlotte, NC