What's in a name?

blogEntryThumbnailOn March 6, 2014, my wife and I welcomed our first child, Levi James Sailers, into this world. Since his birth, we have been asked about his name. People have speculated that Levi was named after Matthew McConaughey’s son, or that his name was picked from the bible. Although I’m sure that Levi McConaughey is a great kid, and Levi is a biblical name, we selected his name from another place.

Levi was named after a child I worked with in Tucson, AZ during the summer of 2001. At that time, I was a research assistant in a study at Wings on Words preschool, and one of my participants was named Levi. He had several speech sound errors that made him difficult to understand. He reminded me of myself when I was his age because I had similar difficulties. Throughout the 4-6 weeks of the study, I watched Levi improve his speech and language skills.

One day toward the end of the study, the preschool’s speech-language pathologist (SLP) asked me to watch Levi practice his speech sounds. He accurately produced his speech sounds in words, one flashcard after another. I was floored by his progress. Then, after the study had completed, I returned to the preschool to do paperwork. I walked through Levi’s class, and he ran up to me. His teacher was nearby and she told him that I would not be seeing him. Our time together was over. Immediately, he ran into the corner and cried. I went over to console him and to tell him how much he meant to me. As I was talking to him, I thought about how much he really touched me, and how speech-language pathology was a career that I wanted to pursue. So, without any hesitation, I went on to become an SLP.

Over the years of being an SLP, I thought about Levi and how much I liked the name. So, when it came time for my wife and I to name our son, I strongly encouraged the name, Levi. After some convincing with a story similar to the one here, my wife agreed with the caveat that she gets to pick our second child’s name. And she repeatedly said that she wanted it in writing, so her wish is my command. :-)

I just wish I would have stayed in touch with Levi from Wings on Words, as it would have been cool to see him grow up and to tell him how I named my son after him. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Oh well. At least I will always be reminded of him by my first born child, who my wife and I named Levi.