Today as I entered the elevator to dart back to work after dropping my son at home after school, I heard a child heading toward the elevator. It was a small, local boy under the age of two with his father.
I said hello, but the child did not answer. His father commented that he should learn to say hello to people. Observation: We do not really encourage children to interact with strangers in the US.
I learn the boy's name is Hamdan. "Hamdan. That is a very nice name", I reply. Just as I was thinking it, the man proudly told me that this is the same name as the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan.
As I walked to my car, I couldn't help but feel how proud this father was of his son's name and how proud he was to have named him after the Crown Prince. I tried to think of other countries where this might happen.
I think we might be hard pressed to find an American who would name their child after George Bush, Burak Obama, or Mitt Romney. There are some great historical leaders that people may consider or admire, but living leaders, I'm not sure. I started to scan Europe - Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy? Not likely I assume.
The national pride here feels very genuine. It is not arrogant or aggressive. It was a nice reminder of many things...