As I sat in my classroom today every time I looked up I saw a bright display on the back wall of the Egyptian nameplates, or cartouches, that my students had made as an assignment on hieroglyphics. According to our reading, everyday people didn’t have a name sign like this, the cartouches were reserved for Pharaohs. To the left you can see an example of what my name might look like, if I were a pharaoh. Can you imagine people accepting the fact that they only had a written form of identification if we were in charge of a country? I don’t think so!
I asked a group of kids, “What was the first thing you learned to print?” Other than the alphabet most said they learned to print their name. We use the written form of our names for many things. Our first squiggly attempts decorated the corners of our preschool art works, often with them printed neatly below by a teacher or parent. Without our name on the bottom, how would people be able to find our little pinch pot or settle the issue of whose right rain boot we are fighting to get away from our classmate?