A Seattle Times article (June 2, 2008) reported that a number of Middletown, Pennsylvania High School students were embarrassed to find their names “corrected” in the school yearbook, Reflections.
Max Zupanovich found his name changed to “Max Supernova.” Kathy Carbaugh’s name was morphed to “Kathy Airbag.” In the same 2008 Reflections, another student went from Cameron Bendgen to “Cameron Bandage.” William Givler became “William Giver.” Alexandria Impolito became “Alexandria Impolite.” And Courtney Hrobak was changed to “Courtney Throwback.”
Apparently, the publisher, Taylor Publishing, used a computer spell-check program which tagged and automatically changed any word it couldn’t recognize into something it could. Unfortunately, it could not recognize any but the most common last names. The results were laughable to students, but parents were enraged.
Names are intentionally distinctive. They serve to identify one person from another. But a mindless computer will try to “fix” what it cannot understand.
People are immensely more distinctive from one another than their names. People differ from each other dramatically in their personalities as well as their physical attributes. And they are different by God’s design.
But, like a mindless spell-checker, we rarely appreciate people’s differences. We have an ideal in our heads of what a man or a woman should be. More frequently, we fail to appreciate our own differences and spend our lives trying to make ourselves into something God never intended us to be. God’s multitudinous varieties of complex people cannot possibly fit into our ultra-simplistic molds. He has a different blueprint for every one of us. The Scripture says, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so… We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Rom. 12:4–6). Stop beating up yourself or others because neither of you measures up to some unrealistic ideal. God only expects us to be the person He designed us to be.
Dear Father in heaven, I recognize that You have fashioned my personality and that every gift and attribute I have comes from You. Help me to discover and appreciate my own distinctive gifts as well as those of others. Amen