One of my young and very clever clients asked me, "What is the only thing that everything has?" I had nothing, just nothing for an answer. The answer? A name. Everything has a name. Having a name is actually an agreement that we all make so that we have an understanding of "what" we are talking about. Makes sense. It I start talking about a boat, you have some kind of vision of what I am talking about. I'm sure not talking about a tooth.
- However, when it comes to naming your kids, many people think they have some kind of "right" to chime in on this critical decision. Once your pregnancy is established and progresses, family and friends begin to ask you, "What names are you considering?" And then, without waiting for an answer, they offer theirs! Because names are so important and oh so personal, think long and hard about it.
- What kind of "nickname" may arise from the name you gave them?
- What kind of "bullying" name can be created by cruel kids? Now, this one is tough because kids can come up with taunts that you and I wouldn't think of in a zillion years. Who knew that Lucas could become Pukous?
- Will it last your child a lifetime? How will your son's name serve him when he's a 35 year old, 6' 3" stockbroker with three sons? What if your daughter becomes an NYPD captain? Will their names give them the dignity and respect as an adult that their position deserves? How will their children and spouses respond to their names? Remember, childhood is such a brief time of life, about 12 years. Adulthood, if you consider it lasting from age 16 to 85 is 69 years, so make sure you give them a name for a life time.
- If you name your child after a family member who died under tragic circumstances or a devastating disease, how will that name and heritage shape how your child sees their future?
- How well does the "given" name "fit" with the family's last name? During the early, formative years, it can make a difference.
- If you name your son after his father and he becomes a "junior", you might want to re-think the "junior" as the name you use daily. Richard and Rick, Phillip and Phil, Sam and Samuel are all ways to achieve this goal. Girls can be named after their fathers...Paula for Paul, Samantha for Sam, Danielle for Dan, you get the idea. Obviously, some are more difficult than others.
Let's circle back to a topic of concern for me and that is "nicknames". Babies are adorable. No argument there and suddenly, you or family members may begin to "infantilize" your child's future maturity, by "morphing" baby's name into something "cutesy".
That traditional strong name, Robert, that you gave your son may slowly morph into Robby which will follow him through his adult years and perhaps he had nothing to say about it. He's likely not to have even thought about it. It's his life, he needs to make that decision.
Family and friends can be trained to respect their emerging adulthood and are likely, except for perhaps the "grands", to follow your lead.
You'll be surprised at your child's reaction. They just never thought about it...before now.
Understand that your child is likely to get creative with spelling as they move through life. It doesn't matter what name they put on their history paper, as long as the school has the spelling correct because the spelling you gave them at birth is the one they need to sign a mortgage! Don't sweat it if they decide to give themselves a new "name" identity in middle school, especially the girls who like to get "fancy" with the spelling of their names. A very different spelling in adulthood can create "mix-ups" that cause serious problems.
A name is an intensely personal and historic feature of a person's life. Consider it carefully.
As usual, just do the best you can...TTFN, Claudia