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  • Reverend James Squire

The Name Game




Vicki Squire loves to play games. She is on the pickle ball court three times a week, plays ping pong with anyone who will play her including a friend from pickleball. Weekly Mahjong and various word games that she plays with friends are also included in her repertoire. Add to that any other games that are in the mainstream. She is very competitive with family but hides that character trait with friends and acquaintances. I, on the other hand, am not competitive with family members but very competitive with others. Our family isn’t necessarily into games so there is a tension there, but Vicki pushes on and we whine, being reluctant, and then enjoy ourselves once we are into it. Recently during that evening when the family was together, she organized a game night. First came sighs, then came laughter.


Vicki’s favorite game is the Name Game. Everyone puts 6 names in the hat. We divide into two teams. During the first round, each player simply has to describe the name of the person such as The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. During the next round, you can only use one word to describe the name of the person. Those two rounds are relatively easy. There are usually complaints that the name put in is not enough in the public domain, Archimedes was a name Vicki recently contributed. It is in the third round that the fun and laughter begin. You can only act out who the person whose name you picked from the hat. The cries go up such as “How could we identify that person with that clue that you gave us?” The game usually feels like the winner will win a million dollars. It gets intense quick.


It is not by accident that I mentioned The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King as a name to consider. After all it is his weekend to be celebrated. I hope that we are living his message 365 days of the year. Let’s play a different kind of name game to help us reflect and celebrate his life. Divide into two groups but you write your answers so that only you will see them. There will be competition as you will have to go through the basic rules of the name game with a twist. Before we begin, I will share with you that my personal view is that people will leave off the words “The Reverend.” They choose to say just Dr. King or Martin Luther King. Recall that his life and vision began in Christianity as a Christian minister and informed the work of many religions and organizations where social justice was championed.


Now let’s play the game. We are all starting with the same name, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Who are two other people that you immediately associate with Dr. King? For me it would be Jesus and Ghandi. Now consider how you would act out their names. Where were you when you first heard of King’s death? For me, it would be in North Philadelphia in the evening when cars and buildings were being burned in anger over his death by an assassin. Act it out. What were some of his words in the “I Have A Dream” speech? I would say, “Free at last! Free at Last. Thank God Almighty I am free at last!” Act it out. What should every family do on the day that we celebrate his life? I would do a service for others or read his “I Have A Dream” speech out loud. Act out words you remember in the speech. You have 60 seconds to answer each question. Who won?


If you live alone, reflect on how you would answer and act out the answer! I worked in a competitive school environment. We emphasized collaboration as well. You name it and the students would find a way to make it into a competition. I felt very much at home there. I hope you feel at home with the above exercise to make his day come alive for you and others. The Name Game is a great way to have competition to teach as well as to be a positive in our lives.

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