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Gentle Virtues


09/01/2012 - For the first two days of my life, I was without a name. Even though

my mom and dad hoped for a daughter and my dad was certain I would be a

girl, they only had a boy's name picked out. Thankfully my big brother

Donny Bob came to the rescue by suggesting that I be named after his friend

down the street.

Because my mom wanted my name to have something in common

with my brother's names (Donn and Dell), I was given the four-letter

spelling. I'm good with that. Being a word person, I enjoy finding my name

in such words as vitamin, stamina and Mesopotamia. It is also a kick to find

my name backwards in words such as ultimate, intimate and animation.

Then to find all my letters in word - it's endless.

While I like my name and its spelling, I have had an issue with it. it's

not the fact that I can't find a pencil with my correct spelling or I am

concerned that someone will spell my name wrong. I'm over that. My

concern is its meaning. Why, it means...perfection. How am I or any of us

supposed to live up to that?

For a brief moment, when I was in college, eating a box of Cracker

Jacks, I thought my concern was over. For in the box was a prize - a little

book of names and their meanings. It didn't identify my name with

perfection but with a.. .palm tree. "I'm off the hook!'' I thought to myself.

Then recalling that my roots are in Montana where there are no palm trees

except for some plastic ones at the mall, I went back to the confounded

Hebrew meaning. Besides, it's hard to believe words that smell like peanuts.

Noah Webster, bless his soul, has come to my rescue and yours shall

you be concerned over this word as well. In his 1828 American Dictionary

of the English Language, he reveals the root meaning of perfection. It

comes from two Latin words: the base word "fecio'' meaning "to make'' and

the prefix "per'' meaning "through". Literally it means "to make through'' or

in other words "to complete''.

At the heart of this word, it is more about being faithful than it is

about being flawless. it's about completing projects, fulfilling

commitments and being true to our word. And as my kids know it, it's

about shutting the drawers and doors all the way, putting away all the

groceries and laundry assigned to them and completing all the math

problems. My motto is "bring it to completion". When we and our children

live by this motto, we accomplish big and little things that matter and give us

a sense of accomplishment. (P.S. My name is in the last word. Sweet.)

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