Christian Home Builder - Lesson 9

A First And Last Name

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student will understand that the "connectedness” family member's share, is healthy and represented by their last name.
  2. The student will see the "separateness” that family members have, that is represented by their first name.
  3. The student will recognize that balance is the key for healthy Christian families, between connectedness and separateness.


  1. The teacher may want to collect stories of his/her own first and last names. How were they named? Why? By whom or after whom?
  2. The teacher may want to purchase a book of first names used for naming babies, to show the different meanings that they have.


Truly healthy Christian families are producing members that are both connected and separate, independent and dependent. They are constantly trying to maintain that healthy balance.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class


  1. Special announcement and prayers.
  2. Review last week's lesson.
  3. Introductory thought question:
    Would anyone in class like to share the story of why they were given their first name?
  4. Has anyone researched the meaning of the history of their last name?

Learning Experiences:

  1. The Heritage Of One's Last Name.
    1. The last names that we share give a sense of connectedness, heritage and history that spans all family members.
    2. People that share a last name or common derivatives of that last name, are said to be related and often times we make judgements on the entire group based upon their membership in a particular family.
    3. We may say, "all of the Smith's are good athletes,” or "the Johnson's are excellent students.”
    4. Sometimes the last name references a particular culture, ethnic or racial background.
    5. In the past, the last name would give some members of the culture or society certain status or an occupational group, such as the Baker's.
    6. Whatever the background of one's last name, when we look at a picture of an extended family that shares a last name, we make certain assumptions about their connectedness. This is very healthy and a part of the fabric that keeps a family together.
  2. The Uniqueness Of One's First Name.
    1. An individual's first name is given to them at birth and is seen as one of the most important markers of a personality and identity within a related family.
    2. First names often describe personality characteristics.
    3. They may represent the fact that someone is considered important.
    4. They may describe the relationship to a former member of the family from another generation. "George is named after his grandfather, the great Statesman.”
    5. Individuality, differences, a sense of personal style, or individual interests can all be summed up in the identity of one's first name.
    6. So it is then, that we come to understand that we are both related (last name) and independent (first name) all in the same package.
    7. It is this blending of the separateness and the connectedness that builds a healthy family.
    8. The two are constantly in tension and rightfully so.
  3. Genesis 49, The Blessing Of Jacob And His Sons.
    1. Genesis 49 describes the blessing that Jacob gives to his sons in Egypt before his death.
    2. An examination of these versus reveals he understood that each one of his sons were unique individuals.
    3. They all share the same bloodline but they were all different.
    4. So it is, that we as parents must come to understand that our children are not an identical reflection of ourselves, but carry with them a unique demonstration of their own identity as they are related to us.
  4. Why Is It Healthy For People To Be Allowed To Be Themselves?
    1. Each has a unique contribution to make.
    2. It empowers each of us to a full life of service. My way of serving God, my family, and my country may be very different from someone else's. All are equally valuable.
    3. Untold fulfillment. A person comes to understand who they are, what their gifts and talents represent, and how they can make their greatest contribution. They are free to experience a highly fulfilling life.
    4. It reduces unnecessary frustration. If you have ever watched someone try to learn a musical instrument that they lacked the necessary aptitudes to learn, you saw frustration. If they moved to another instrument where they were particularly gifted you see the pleasure that comes from mastering that instrument. You understand the frustration that someone feels when they are trying to accomplish something that they are not truly gifted at.
    5. God has given us a unique set of gifts and talents to recognize, zero in on and improve, then put them to good use. A healthy family is encouraging this process for all of its members.
  5. What Do Healthy Families Do?
    1. Encourage individuality in their members.
    2. They offer plenty of support to one another.
    3. They spend time together and prioritize the time spent.
    4. They have a strong spiritual commitment.
    5. They are like "bumper cars.” They are headed in the same direction, occasionally bump, but it isn't the end of the ride!


  1. The journal entry for this week should be an assignment to list each member of one's immediate family (both parents and children).
    1. Under each family member, write down the top five areas of giftedness or uniqueness that each member of the family possesses in your judgement.
    2. Once listed, look back over that list.
      1. How are members similar?
      2. How are they different?
      3. What overall giftedness pattern does the family possess?
      4. What areas of giftedness is the family not particularly possessing?
    3. Finally, sit down with each member of your family, on the list, share your observations with them and ask them to reflect on your answers. See how well they match up to one another.

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