It’s a boy! And we have named him Augustine Lewis House.
Why? Glad you asked!
My sophomore year of college at St. Ambrose University I was registered for a course called History of the Western Church that normally only upper-classmen on the track for priesthood took. It was a fluke, but I was up for a challenge. To date, it was the most demanding course I took in school (including my Master’s program). No such course would be complete without study of pivotal historical theologians and philosophers and St. Augustine of Hippo was one of them. His words and thoughts resonated with me more than any of the others we studied that semester, particularly his straightforwardness about loving others and loving God and how complex it is to remove self-interest from any of it. That kind of awareness of selfish impulse in the face of a commitment to love others better anyway is something I want in a son.
During my master’s program, study of educational philosophers was obviously a large part of Advanced Educational Philosophy. Each student was assigned a philosopher to dive into and present on. Guess who I got? Augustine treasured the power of words, and was known to push other writers and speakers. He exalted education and valued knowledge and reason. And while I’ll admit some of his ideas show his age, this one in particular is how I want my little one to see the interactions with others, not just for myself as a literal school teacher, “The teacher should take into account the unique characteristics of each student and relate to the students as unique individuals” (source).
It’s worth noting that I have wanted to name a child after Augustine since that sophomore year of undergrad. I don’t know that Mike and I had talked about names much in the earlier years of our marriage, but one day we walked into his parents’ house and saw some plaques leaned against the wall bearing the name Augustine Hernandez. My heart stopped. I asked who it was and learned it was Mike’s great-grandfather. That moment sealed the deal. Augustine it would be.
If you know me, then chances are you know where Lewis comes from. C.S. Lewis, the man, the myth, the legend. The master storyteller. The man unafraid to simultaneously take on the mantle of authority while disclaiming that readers are responsible for thinking critically and making their own decisions. A person who was never too old to see magic everywhere, and yet questioned everything while offering possible solutions.
Both of these men share loves of knowledge, words, and love of others. If we add to this the gifts this kiddo will hopefully receive from his own dad of problem solving, selfless serving, and the fast-working, connections-making mind of an engineer, we will have one wise little man.