Name Change

The family walked in late to the courtroom, after all the other cases were decided and everyone was gone. The bailiff showed them to the table usually used by attorneys. This family had no attorney. They took their seats and looked at me.

“Are you here for the name change?”

They said they were, their hair styles and clothing faintly reminiscent of the middle eastern heritage suggested by the names on the paperwork but their voices completely unaccented.

The mother and father appeared to be around 30 years old, their young son sitting with them.

“How old are you?” I asked.

He looked at his mother and then back at me, holding up four fingers.

“Four?” I said with exaggerated wonder. “I thought you were at least ten!”

He giggled silently, little shoulders shaking as he shared a grin with his mother.

I asked the reason for changing their son’s name and how they chose the new one. Both the old name and the new one reflected their heritage and – as they explained – faith.

“He chose the new one,” the father said as he smiled at his son.

I looked at the boy again. “Do you know that’s going to be your name now?”

He grinned some more.

I signed the name-change decree and sent them to the clerk’s office to finish the paperwork.

“Thank you, your honor,” the mother and father both said. “Can you say thank you to the judge?” the mother prompted the little boy.

He looked at me and grinned some more.

“As-salāmu ʿalaykum, little guy,” I said.

His father turned with a smile and waved over his shoulder as they disappeared out the door.


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11 Responses to Name Change

  1. Robert Martin says:


  2. I want to find out if it is possible to change the surnames of my children to reflect the surname of my husband and I. Although school, etc., have been happy to change the surname unofficially, from what I can gather it takes the consent of the father to change a child’s name. What a joke. In fact the whole system around convicted sex offenders in the UK is a joke. Just as well we’re careful – and just as well we trust God. I genuinely don’t know how people survive without faith.
    I’m glad there are good people, God-loving people like you, who work for the criminal justice system, albeit in a different country. Thank you.

  3. Jeannie says:

    What a nice scene, Tim. (Telling little kids you think they’re older than they are is a stroke of genius. 🙂 )

  4. Julie Anne says:

    I think of the examples in Bible where God changed someone’s name – – very powerful. This is a cool story, Tim! Thanks!

  5. I’m not sure I get the point of this story. They let the kid choose his own name. They were obviously muslim, and it seems this wasn’t the name change wasn’t the result of changing their religion, right? I have had muslim friends become followers of Jesus and then change their names (not wanted any longer to be called Mohammed).

  6. I love this passage in Revelation 2:

    Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

  7. madhabmatics says:

    That is adorable, thanks for sharing this story. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Cedarville Might Want To Stop Calling Itself A University | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

  9. Pingback: God’s Got Your Name (and It’s Not a Bad Thing Either) | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

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