Marti and I both feel quite strongly that “words become worlds”. That is, what you speak has a tremendous amount of power to change reality. There’s a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from the Bible, and one of the topics that comes up most frequently is the power of the tongue (“Death and life are in the power of the tongue”, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”, “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” etc.).
With that said, we are being quite intentional with everything we say to and about Ellie. We plan on building her up with our words, instead of breaking her down, and we feel that nicknames are a big part of that. What can start out as a cute, well-intentioned nickname can become the bain of a child’s existence. While you may see the cute quality in the nickname that you give them, they may come to see the negative qualities (muffin – cute, tasty treat, or fat blob of dough?).
It’s a very natural thing to come up with pet names for our children (we’ve already caught ourselves calling Ellie “Monkey”, “Pumpkin” and “Muffin”), but we have been quite selective in choosing a nickname for her. If we insist on calling her a nickname instead of Ellie, then we will call her “Sunshine”, because we found it hard to see that in any light other than a positive one, and her name itself means, “bringer of light”. She is our sunshine: she has brought a great amount of light and joy into our lives, so it only seems fitting.