RyanRyan Arnold

What’s in a name?

Jason and I both wanted our kids’ names to mean something, not just sound good to the ear. And by “mean something”, we wanted their names to bestow a blessing on their character and life, a kind of calling, if you will.

I knew for sure for our first kid, if it was a boy, or girl I guess, that I didn’t want a name where a synonym for “Rambunctious, wild, moronic, dare-devil” could ever be found. I also wasn’t keen on the kid’s name meaning “pansy or wimp or lily-livered fraidy cat.”

I actually knew for our first kid, since I didn’t really know what I was doing being a first time mom, that I could sure use a little helper. Someone who would be my assistant, a hard-worker, a kid who could roll with the punches and not give me too much flack. Is that wrong?! 🙂

Well guess what?! Emily means “Industrious, strong worker.”

And, with Noah, since we knew he was a boy via ultrasound, Jason had chosen either Jude which means “Praise” or Noah that means “Peace.” Either name had beautiful meaning in our book, but when I was pushing and our son was taking his sweet old time, Jason chose “Noah” in the delivery room and said, “Noah, come out!” Noah’s middle name was Steven. It means “Crowned.” Ironically, it’s not a royal crown but the kind of crown you receive after a race of endurance. It fit him, and his powerful little life calling, beautifully!

For all of our kids we had actually always loved the name “Ryan” either for a girl or boy.

Now, in choosing a name, it was so very important to us that there were no booger eating, cranky, mean, violent, creeper people attached to the name. We had to skip one boy name we had been thinking about for Noah because there was this creeper guy in college that always gave all the girls back/neck rubs and it just gave me the heebie jeebies. Thankfully there are millions more from which to choose 🙂

But let me tell you about my history with Ryan’s.

The first Ryan I ever met was in Michigan while I was in high school. He was a really great friend that had a fantastic sense of humor, such an easy-going personality and true character. As a grown-up, I know he loves his wife and is a loving dad.

The second Ryan I met was my husband’s friend. Jason lived next door to Ryan’s grandparents growing up. Jason’s and Ryan’s families went to the same church in their small town, and actually still do. The first time I met Ryan was after my freshman year of college when I went up to meet Jason’s family and everyone else that came along with the package of falling in love with a boy from South Dakota. I liked him instantly. I could tell he was intense, sincere, and a really hard worker. I could also tell that he was the kind of guy who was a true friend to Jason, the way Jason is to others. As a grown man, Ryan adored his wife and 3 sons, was a faithful friend, was a man of his word and really cared about the quality of life, life to the fullest.

I met the third Ryan as a young married woman. He had the hots for one of my best friends, and she reciprocated. To get the boy to talk was like pulling teeth, but I could sense his depth of love for my dear friend and so wasn’t going to stand in the way of watching them fall madly in love! Like the other Ryan’s, this one loves his wife and children with his whole heart, works diligently to provide for them, and is a man of integrity.

Bonus material: All three Ryan’s are easy on the eyes…in a strictly platonic sort of way, just sayin’.

Ryan means “Little King” or “Kingly.” Maybe that’s why I easily couple it with “Lion” when I sing to my little man?

Ryan the Lion…Ryan the Lion…

All I know is that when Jason and I took a leap of faith and got pregnant after losing Noah, then learned it was another boy, I knew, as we did with all of our children, that this child, too, was not ours but God’s. I knew that God loved him more and had a plan for his life. I knew that my knowing him on this earth was, and is, a tremendous blessing, but also a huge responsibility…

…I also knew his name had to be a blessing not only to his character, but to God and to the people he would encounter.

Ryan means “Little King.” His middle name is Everett. It means “Strong.”

I can already tell my sweet Ryan is both of these things. I also have to say, I am so very grateful he is in the company of three Godly men who have set the tone for how to humbly carry the meaning of their name. Not that they are perfect, but kings in their own right.

Today, I write in honor and memory of the second Ryan, after whom we named our beautiful baby boy. What an honor it is to raise a boy by the name of Ryan!

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