The decision to have a naming ceremony for your child, outside of traditional church baptisms is difficult. Where to start, what to include, how will older members of your family feel? So much to consider.
We held this ceremony for our twin daughters and infused it with our own flavour and practice of mindfulness. I loved every minute of it. We created the script with my friend, a fellow mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher, who also officiated it for us. We took poems from places we loved and were inspired by some humanist scripts out there and our own practice. It was a wonderful way of sharing our practice with our families, setting our intention for how we want to raise our children, while giving our families the opportunity to share the day with us in our own way.
Here is the outline of our script. I hope it helps if you are thinking of doing something similar.
We chose to call our supporting adults fairy godmothers for a number of reasons, but this article may help you decide what you want to call them if you chose to have them.
Wishing you the very best in your new and fabulous role as parents, savour all the moments and find peace along the way.
Sue & Mike x
Naming Ceremony of Zianna & Azahra
Sunday 21st October 2018 at 1pm
Cloonacauneen Castle, Galway
Officiated by: Trish McNamara
♫ Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Mindful Moment – Ring a Bell & Invitation to Sit in Silence
Welcome and introduction
Thoughts of Absent Guests (candle lighting)
A moment to remember all those not with us.
[Mike to light a candle] For Michéal & Margaret who would have loved to have been part of today and been so delighted to see Mike become a father.
Purpose of Ceremony
This ceremony has two purposes:
To welcome these gorgeous girls into the world, surround them with love and to give them their names in the presence of their families and loved ones.
Provide an opportunity for their parents, fairy godparents and family to make a commitment to love, support and challenge these gorgeous girls as they learn and grow throughout life.
Welcome – By Selina Denton
Read by Sue
Welcome to sunlight Welcome to the soft rain on your face
Welcome to the rush of the wind Welcome to the hush of the sea
Welcome to much joy and a little sorrow Welcome to birdsong
Welcome to music and laughter Welcome to the leaves on the tree
Welcome to the miracle of words Welcome to the whispering of rivers
Welcome to dreaming Welcome to everything you can see and name
Welcome to your mother’s care Welcome to your father’s smile
Welcome to the love of all here Welcome to the world.
The Prophet on Children, by Khalil Gibran
Read by Mike
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Announcing the Names
Now it is time to welcome these beautiful girls with love as we give them their names.
The name is such an important thing, it establishes us as an individual within the family and provides the foundation of our identity in the wider community. No wonder then that such care is taken in the choice of a name.
Sue & Mike I ask you now to share the names given to these children and their meanings.
[Sue] [Holding Zianna-Aria] Your name has been chosen with care, love and with some challenges as we surfed the entire alphabet to find you a beautiful and unique name. We choose to name you Zianna- Aria Redmond-Hughes – Zianna meaning wisdom, courage & playfulness & Aria meaning song and singing. We wish you long life and happiness in a loving and peaceful world. May you bring joy to everyone you know, your family and friends and the world.
[Mike] [Holding Azahra-Raye] your name has been chosen with care, love and some difficulty and controversy over the spelling to find a name suitable to match your beauty and uniqueness. We choose to name you Azahra-Raye Redmond-Hughes – Azahra meaning brilliant, bright, beautiful, creative Raye meaning peaceful queen. We wish for you long life and happiness in a loving and peaceful world. May you bring joy to everyone you know, your family and friends and the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, family and friends, I give you Zianna-Aria & Azahra-Raye. Applause!!
♫ Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!
A name is very important. It distinguishes us from others and gives us a sense of belonging in our family and community.
Zianna-Aria & Azahra-Raye you are welcomed today by the family and friends gathered here in your honour and as a member of the wider community in which you will take your place.
Education of the Affect by John Heron
Read by Margaret Whelan
Accept my tears.
Accept my delight.
Accept my exhilaration.
Love me as I am.
Let me be.
I have everything I need.
Don’t force me to be like you.
Don’t force me to be different from you.
Don’t force me at all.
Your needs are not my needs.
Look after your own needs.
You are my everything.
I love you always.
You are the sunshine of my life.
You are mine forever.
Be with me.
Let me see you.
Let me be with you.
Open up to me.
Show me yourself.
Let me see who you are.
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." – Elizabeth Stone
Sue and Mike, these precious souls are so dear to you both. They have come into your lives and changed them forever, and now your role as parents has been embraced with responsibility, care and love.
I ask that you make your own personal declaration of commitment and unconditional love to Zianna & Azahra:
My gorgeous precious girls, I am so incredibly honoured that you have come to share your lives with us.
I promise to cherish your childhood as it is a precious gift where you can have fun, laugh and create wonderful memories
I promise you never ending love as you grow to be who you are.
I promise to help find within you your bright and shining light so you can share it with the world.
And when the path before you becomes difficult I promise to always be a place you can call home, who you can come to for encouragement and support, and a gently nudge you to uncover the best in you.
I promise today and for always to love you and accept you exactly as you are.
There will be many days filled with fun and laughter, occasional days with a tear or two but I will always be there with soothing hug and helping hand. We will grow and take on new challenges together. Today and always I promise to provide, protect and love you with all my heart.
For a New Father by John O’Donoghue
Read by Eva Hughes
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your new child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life.
Since the first stir of its secret becoming,
The echo of your child has lived inside you,
Strengthening through all its night of forming
Into a sure pulse of fostering music.
How quietly and gently that embryo-echo
Can womb in the bone of a man
And foster across the distance to the mother
A shadow-shelter around this fragile voyage.
Now as you behold your infant, you know
That this child has come from you and to you;
You feel the full force of a father's desire
To protect and shelter.
Perhaps for the first time,
There awakens in you
A sense of your own mortality.
May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving,
Clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen you all to be a family.
May you stand sure on our ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.
Connecting with Nature
Earth, with deep reverence we ask that Zianna & Azahra be blessed by you with the ability to have a solid foundation in all that they bring forth. May they be graced with Earth-honouring abundance and fertility that ripens into a harvest so bountiful that they need to share it.
Water, in gratitude we ask that Zianna & Azahra be blessed by you with an over-flowing sea of love. May the lives of all those who come into contact with them be enhanced by their abundance of love.
Air, with appreciation we ask that Zianna & Azahra be blessed by you with the ability to honour others’ viewpoints and perspectives. Grace them with the capacity to hold a vision of peace. Show them how to work with you to focus their intention so they may bring forth their desires and dreams and uplift their vibration.
Fire, with profound admiration, we ask that Zianna & Azahra be blessed by your energising warmth and life force as they take action in their lives. We ask that all those who come into contact with them be illuminated by their expression of your radiant passion.
Dearest Spirit, we ask that Zianna & Azahra be with an abundant grace and trust in life, even during times of transformation and change. May the lives of all those who come into contact with them be uplifted by their connection to the Divine and their deep compassion for the sacredness of the human experience.
Presentation of Gifts for the Girls
Sue and Mike have a gift for for Zianna & Azahra in memory of this day.
[Sue] – to Azahra – a necklace to show that we will always love you to the moon and back.
[Mike] – to Zianna – a necklace to show that we will always love you to the moon and back.
[Sue] - Planting two Red Oak tree’s – Quercus rubra – The oak symbolises wisdom, strength, longevity and purity. An oak is deep rooted and steady. We choose these trees to grow as you will grow.
Family and Friends Promises & Wishes
Each child has a need to be part of a group of loving and supportive people to nurture their growth and development. This provides them with emotional and practical guidance bound together with love, friendship and respect.
And each of you here today make up part of that special group with whom Zianna & Azahra, Sue & Mike will celebrate life’s special moments, and also to whom they turn in times of need.
An African Proverb says ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.
With this in mind, Sue and Mike have chosen to invite all of you here today – as their friends and family – to make an affirmation that you will help guide and nurture Zianna & Azahra to be loving and kind.
We now invite everyone to share your promise or wish for their future, you can write it down on a card and add it to their memory box.
We would also like to invite you to touch the babies feet as you share your blessing and wish for each of the girls.
♫Here Comes the Sun Little Darling
In our complex world, even the most loving and capable parents benefit from help in raising their children. It is therefore very reassuring to know that family and friends will also be around to offer their assistance.
Sue & Mike have chosen Margaret, Eva, Catherine & Mary to play a special role in the life of their children.
[Sue]- Research shows that for children to succeed in life they need 1 good adult that is absolutely crazy about them. We have chosen you 4 fabulous ladies to be our daughters supporting guiding adults.
Margaret & Eva – to represent nourishing motherly love and kindness.
Mary & Catherine – to represent sport, adventure and independence.
Would you each like to offer your own promise to
Zianna & Azahra now.
Eva’s Promise to Zianna
Catherine’s Promise to Zianna
Margaret’s Promise to Azahra
Mary’s Promise to Azahra
Presentation of Gifts for Fairy Godmothers
Sue & Mike also have a gift for their Fairy Godmothers
[Sue] – to the Fairy Godmothers - For each of you we have a small gift ‘an angel wing’ each to represent your wings as a fairy godmother, in our eyes, as each of you bring different values we believe are important to role model to our girls.
(Adapted from 2 poems: World’s Best Godmother by Ms Moem & My God Daughter by RL. Martell)
Read by Catherine Redmond
Life can be funny.
People come and go
But some last the distance
And watch as you grow.
Those are the people
Who capture your heart
And we want you to know
We hope to leave our mark.
The day we were asked
we felt so blessed
to accept responsibility
of a lifetime request.
To loving you unconditionally
and helping guide you through life.
To show you direction and stand by your side.
You are one in a million, a diamond I’m told,
Looking forward to giggles until we grow old.
Dance Lightly with Life by Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Read by Mary Hughes
today is your day to
dance lightly with life,
sing wild songs of adventure,
soar your spirit,
unfurl your joy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a round of applause for Zianna, Azahra, Sue, Mike, Margaret, Mary, Eva & Catherine.
Toast & Lunch
To conclude this ceremony. Everyone please repeat –"To Zianna & Azahra – long life, peace and happiness”.