What drives somebody to choose a certain name for their new little bundle of joy?
This day and age it seems to be an ongoing contest of “who can come up with the most abstract baby name?” Celebrities have set the bar pretty high giving their kids names like Apple, Puma, Banjo, and Alcamy. I have to wonder, is this giving the child huge and possibly uncomfortable shoes to fill?
One of the funniest, and possibly best, questions that I have heard lately is “will that name work if the kid ends up being dorky and/or homely looking?” When I first heard someone ask this to a pregnant friend, I was insulted for her! Who freaking cares, it’s a good name and the kid will be beautiful no matter what! Thinking more about it though, it kind of makes sense. If you are going to give your kid the name “Thrasher” you have to stop and think. If Thrasher ends up being the leader of a motorcycle gang, covered in tattoos, smooth with the ladies, and an all around “badass”, no problem! If sweet little Thrasher prefers a good algebra equation over social interaction, wears Star Wars t-shirts on the regular, and spends his weekends in gaming chat rooms, you might have a problem. I know most parents don’t want to think about the fact that a certain name could be setting their child up for potential embarrassment, but it’s something to consider. Hey, Rachel Griffiths, do you think your son “Banjo” is going to love his name if he by chance ends up with a lazy eye and poor dental hygiene? Probably not.
There are names out there that are good “spectrum names” while still remaining unique! The spectrum being “Danny Zukos” vs. “40yr old virgin.” If you feel the need to go crazy with the name, at least make it the child’s middle name. Some examples of quality “spectrum names” in my opinion are Liam (nice choice by my sister and her husband), Weston, Carter, Gavin, Camden, Colton, and Grant.
Name psychology fascinates me. By naming your child “Ashton” over “Leonard” are you putting them on a certain life track? Will the child’s name influence how he or she views themselves and therefore fits into society? I think it’s possible.
Up until the time I was in my late teens I didn’t particularly like my name; Courtney. In movies, Courtney is usually a cheerleader, a blonde air-head. Courtney is popular and a lot of times a prominent member of a mean girls-type clique. Courtney is never dorky and doesn’t have a hard time fitting in. My life through my pre-teen and teenage years was the exact opposite of all of the aforementioned! My elementary/middle/high school years were spent trying to live up to my name. I tried so hard to be the Courtney that I knew I could and should be. I eventually realized that while my name might make people think of a blonde and ditzy cheerleader, I could reinvent it. I could be the silly, awkward, sarcastic, sometimes dark, definitely not cheerleading, introverted, Courtney.
New parents across the world pick names for their children based on family heritage, how the initials will look, a favorite actor’s name, or just because they like the sound of it. Or you could take after Nicholas Cage and name your son “Kal-el”, which is Superman’s birth name. Yikes.
I guess all that matters in the end is giving your child a name that feels right. A name that they feel they can live up to because of the encouragement and love they receive at home. A name that has a good ring to it. One that sends chills down their spine when mom screams it through the house when they are in trouble. Most importantly, a name that won’t get the response “uhh can you spell that?” every time they recite it to a new teacher or coworker.
(this post is dedicated to my youngest sister who was almost an “Ardy.” Thanks to an intercepting aunt, she became a “Kathryn” aka “Katy” on the day of her birth. Whew, close one!)