What Does Your Name Mean?

When I was little, my mom told me that my name, Sonja, meant “wisdom.” That kind of excited me, and kind of terrified me, but it was also one of the most significant things that my mom ever said to me. I really wanted to live up to the name: to be wise. But what did it mean to be wise? I thought about it a lot then, and I think about it a lot even now. It’s even a major theme in my upcoming novel, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather!

Sophie Topfeather, the main character, has a big problem with the notion of being wise. Owls, as you are probably aware, are supposed to be wise, and Sophie’s grandfather, the Great Wise Horned Owl of the Park, is about as smart as anyone can be. Sophie feels completely left out of the wisdom gene pool, and ends up on a rather rash adventure far from home in order to do something about it. Both she and a new friend run into one problem after another, all in the name of Sophie trying to prove she deserves more respect than her grandfather’s pet name for her, “Miss Fancy Feathers,” would imply.

Sophie does figure out a thing or two about true wisdom by the end, and in the nick of time, too.

What does your name mean? Has it affected your life? Share it in the comments!
By the way, in honor of Sophie’s quest for wisdom, every few weeks the Wednesday’s Word column will be Wednesday’s Word to the Wise. Instead of an audio clip, it will be a printed passage from the Bible on what the Bible has to say about what it means to be wise!

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and short stories for children, and occasionally a book or article for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
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4 Responses to What Does Your Name Mean?

  1. Kathleen says:

    Kathleen means “beauty,” and “pure,” but I’ve never really thought much about the meaning. I like it because it is an Irish name which links me to my heritage on my father’s side, and because all the other Kathleen’s I’ve know have been women of integrity and high standards. I can hardly wait to read about Sophie and all her adventures! We are all continually learning.


    • Thank you for your comment, Kathleen! My name links me to my Swedish grandparents’ side, so I can relate to your fondness for your Irish name. How great that the other kKathleens you’ve known are women of integrity–you’re one of them! Thanks for sharing on the blog!


  2. Jean Mohrweis says:

    I’ve looked before, but you reminded me to check again. Jean means “God is gracious” and I’m glad I remember to check every now & then. He has been gracious to me and hopefully I’ll remember to pass that on.


    • What a beautiful meaning! Thank you for sharing! God is gracious, even when we wonder where he is sometimes or question what he is or isn’t doing. Thank goodness that his grace doesn’t depend on my understanding everything fully–we can just accept it and be grateful.


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