- Because we have run out of Afrikaans family names pronounceable to the American tongue:-) (In keeping with the naming pattern we employed with most of our 6 boys - Afrikaans first name, American middle name - Weldon is an American family name from the Sartor genealogy.)
- Because he was nearly a pound lighter and several inches shorter than the smallest of his bothers at birth and needed a name that would boost his small stature;-)
- And because he entered this world with beard and braids, sword in hand, horned, studded helmet adorning his head and a war cry that chilled all for miles around… as you can clearly see:
Actually, he is soft and cute and sweet and very much not your typical Viking!
And so was his namesake:
Leif Ericson (970-1020AD).
(That is, Ericson was not a typical viking, history does not tell much about the sweet and soft part;-)
Leif, Eric the Red’s son, and his viking heritage entered into our family's imagination a couple of years ago while reading history with our boys. Though considered to be fearless, was also noted to be wise and kind.
He preferred the path of exploration above the stereotype of vicious Viking invasions. His adventurous journeys lead him to the New World, and history credits him to be the first European man to set foot on North American soil (the present Newfoundland).
Though considered to be favored by the Norse gods due to good fortune seemingly surrounding him (earning him the name "Leif the Lucky"), Leif converted to Christianity through a mentor, King Olav of Norway, and he committed to proclaim his faith wherever he went, making him in essence a missionary to Greenland and the west.
After studying his life, we (or mostly our Tribal chief, for he is good at using his thinker to produce thoughts such as these) mused that Leif of old has become to our family a historical surprise of sorts. He reflected, "We live in a world of reductionism or oversimplification concerning our views and thoughts about people, places, and events - whether ancient or contemporary - and thus often inaccurately label, misunderstand or misrepresent an individual or group of people."
Consequently, Leif Ericson became to us a symbol/admonition of being alert to surprises and open to having our preconceived ideas challenged regarding the people we meet both in history and in our daily lives.
So although we chuckle about little Leif having been a contemporary surprise of sorts 9 months ago, and jest about his needing the stamina and perseverance of a viking to survive as the youngest of 6 boys, we sincerely hope that he will be an atypical Viking who will come to know his Creator and Savior intimately and that his life will testify that his Redeemer lives.
Of course, we have no doubt that he will wish for a long-ship of his own at times to seek greener pastures not entangled by the intricacies of tribal life... but we do hope that he will also experience moments of considering himself lucky to be part of our imperfect, work-in-progress family.