Sunday, November 23, 2008

How Caedmon Got His Name

How do parents choose a name for their new baby? Do you choose something trendy, Biblical, a family name or just a plain old-fashioned name? What is the meaning of the name? For us the naming of a child takes a lot of thought --especially when you have many children. I am very particular about names...Jeff may suggest a name and I rule it out because 1. I have a cousin with that name (I have many cousins) or 2. I knew someone with that name and didn't like them. Not good reasons, I know, but good enough for me. The meaning of the name is also very important to us.

Our other children's names are:

Lauren Hollingsworth--Lauren means victorious and Hollingsworth was my mamaw's maiden name

Devin Elise--Devin means poet and Elise is a form of Elizabeth which means consecrated by God...put them together and you have a poet consecrated by God (she did write some poetry in her elementary years!)

Andrew Jordan--Andrew was Jeff's Big Daddy's name; it means manly and Jordan means descendent. (I liked the name Jordan---the meaning didn't matter as much)

Aaron Jeffrey--Aaron means bringer of light and Jeffrey (God's peace) for his daddy

Kaelan Elizabeth--Kaelan is a combination of the other girls'--Kaelan means victorious and Elizabeth means consecrated by God

Thomas Jonathan Jackson--We had been doing a long study on the War Between the States and Devin had done a lot of study on Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson....He was a great military leader, husband and Christian man worthy of emulating. So, we named our 6th child for this great American hero. Jackson was also Jeff's grandfather's middle name.

Now we come to Caedmon's name! If you notice, there is a pattern to my children's names: 2 syllables all ending in "n". Do you know you can search online for names to fit that pattern? That is what I did. I came across the name Caedmon doing an online search, but it stuck with me because we had come across a Caedmon in our history reading of the middle ages. I liked it, but what about Jeff and what about those people who thought we were saying "caveman"? We liked the meaning of the name and the Caedmon we read about in our studies was really after several weeks we finally commited to the name Caedmon Alexander for our seventh child. Alexander was one of my great-grandfather's names. The two names together mean "wise warrior defending men".

If that were not enough for a young man to live up to, how about reading the short version of the historical Caedmon (I know, this is already a long post, but these are my children!!)

I found this book about Caedmon on Greenleaf Press's website before Caedmon was born. The first time I read the book--Caedmon's Song by Ruth Ashby-- I cried. This is the story of Caedmon from the 7th century taken from the book's flyleaf.

"Long ago, when hardly anyone knew how to read or write, people recited stories by heart. They sat around the hearth at night, telling of heroes and monsters, great battles fought, and fortunes made and lost. On feast days, they passed the harp around the room so that everyone could sing a poem. But when the harp reached Caedmon, his thoughts dried up. The words died on his tongue. He opened his mouth, and nothing at all came out. It was embarrassing. No wonder he hated poetry.

A quiet man who loved tending his cows, Caedmon couldn't recite poetry because he thought he had no stories to tell. Then after one especially upsetting experience, Caedmon stormed home, fell asleep in the barn, and began to dream. That night, everything changed for Caedmon...

Caedmon dreamed and in his dream a young man came to him and told him to sing him a song. Caedmon replied that he had nothing to sing about. The man told him to sing about what he knew. So Caedmon thought about what he knew...the warm breath of the cows on a frosty morning, cool green dawns and fiery red sunsets, meadows sparkling the dew and hawks circling the sky....he thought about the stars. And he opened his mouth and sang:

Praise we now the Keeper of heaven's kingdom,
The mind of the mighty Maker,
The Glorious Father who made
The world and all its wonders;
How first he created the roof of heaven
For us, the children of men;
Then the holy Creator, the eternal Lord,
Gave the earth to people,
This middle earth to be our home."

Caedmon was now a poet. He told stories and sang of the creation of the world, of Noah and the flood, of Moses and the Promised Land.. He sang about David and he sang of Jesus. Caedmon was soon known throughout the land. Children memorized his hymn of praise and when the people gathered on feast days they no longer sang of bloody battles and monsters. They sang Caedmon's songs and poems instead.

That Caedmon changed his world in the seventh century! My prayer is that my precious baby Caedmon will one day change his world in the twenty-first century!


Amy said...

hi mrs anita,
I am glad you have a blog now! it is very cool!
see ya!
Anna Beth

Lori said...

Oh, Anita.... That was precious! I loved the story of Caedmon's namesake. I think I might cry too!

Anonymous said...


We were thinking of naming our son 'Caedmon'. I came across your blog doing a search on that name. I was wondering, is the misconception that you are saying 'caveman' a common problem? That's my only concern about this name. Otherwise I think it's wonderful and unique.


Amy @ Raising Arrows said...

Thanks so much for sharing how you named your children! I've enjoyed reading all the unique names people have come up with!

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