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Too Many Bobby’s in First Grade

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

The name Bobby (or Bobbie for a girl) was popular for children born in 1933. That’s the year my mother was born. Her birth name was Bobbie Dean.

Because of the popularity of this name, several of my mother‘s male schoolmates were named Bobby. In order to avoid confusion with so many students having the same name, my mom’s first grade teacher told her that she would call her Barbara instead of Bobbie. As a result, her classmates came to know her as Barbara, but at home she was called Bobbie (or Bob, for short). Her school name seemed to stick with her, and even when she married, she used the name Barbara. As my mother aged, she became more nostalgic and reflective about her growing-up years. She began to feel regret over allowing her teacher to call her by a name different than her birth name. Now in her later years of life, Mama feels that she let her parents down by allowing her birth name to be changed. Mama wants people to start calling her Bobbie again. Thinking of my mother’s challenge with her name, I am reminded that most people enjoy being called by their name. Using a person’s name in conversation greatly promotes a feeling of acceptance. In the Bible God puts tremendous importance on names. He instructed Adam in the Garden of Eden to give names to each of the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). God also calls all of the stars by their names (Psalm 147:4). It is special to know that God cares about the names of animals and stars, but it is more comforting to know that He cares about your name. “The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels (womb) of my mother hath he made mention of my name” (Isaiah 49:1). In the chorus of their song “He Knows My Name,” the McRaes encourage us with these lyrics: He knows my name Every step that I take Every move that I make Every tear that I cry He knows my name When I’m overwhelmed by the pain And can’t see the light of day I know I’ll be just fine ‘Cause He knows my name So whether your name is Bobbie or Barbara, Sarah or Sam, Aaron or Erin… take comfort in the fact that God knows your name. He loves you and has an amazing purpose for your life.

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