Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Do's and Don'ts of Naming Baby

By Christina VanGinkel

I have written on the subject of baby naming before, but recently had a new perspective on this subject brought to my attention. Actually, it was not so much a new perspective, as it was the subject itself being looked at more directly, with discussion on various fronts of the baby naming game brought more into the light of day, into reality, and not the cutesy perspective it is so often discussed within. With this in mind, I thought sharing a few of the insights and the way I perceived them with all of you was appropriate. Let me say that my final perspective that I came away with was not so much that any chosen name is wrong for a child, only that the way a name is chosen can be wrong. If you have a heartfelt reason for giving your child a name, no matter how popular or unpopular the name is with others, then name your baby what you will and do so proudly. As long as you have a strong conviction on why you named baby what you did, and can share that reasoning with your child, as they grow older, you can rest assured that you chose the right name.

The do not's, I learned, were simple. Avoid giving your baby a name this is a fad. Do not just open a baby naming book and let your finger land where it will. Do not give a baby a name that when converted to initials spells out something you would rather it not. Also, be sure to consider what the name rhymes with, though this one can be hard, simply because every name conceivable is probably going to rhyme with something rather wish it did not. Try to avoid the obvious though.

As the discussion grew, I was asked how long a person carries his or her first name with them. Of course, my answer was a lifetime. Save for a very few persons who for a variety of reasons change their name, most people keep the moniker they are given at birth until their death. Some may choose to transform their given first name into an initial and predominantly make use of their middle name, but even these people still keep their first name. With this simple fact in mind, it suddenly becomes apparent why more than a few minutes should be given to the process of naming baby. For something that lasts a lifetime, it surely should be given more than a passing thought.

A person's first name is used throughout a life, from infancy, childhood, adulthood, as a parent themselves, and into old age. Keeping this in consideration, a name that fits a young child might not be so good in the boardroom for example. Trying to imagine a name we choose for our child as the name of an adult we know can often help a parent weed out those names that they think sound cute, but are obviously lacking in some way when it comes to mind that this name is going to be around for years to come.

Say the name aloud. Put someone else's face to the name if you can conjure it up. For example, think of your old high school teacher or a friend you know through business or some leisure activity. Consider how it would be if you were hearing the name you have under consideration out in the real world. If it sounds totally off track, maybe you need to reconsider the name itself, or at least the reason you have chosen the name.

In the end, what it all came down to, was that a child's name should not be something thought up in a minute, on a whim if you will. It is something that is going to stay with that child for a very long time, through eternity, so at least give it due thought. Say any name you think you might choose aloud. Say it under different circumstances and in full with the middle and last name too. Think it over for a few days, weeks even. There is no hard and fast rule that you must put in stone a name before taking baby home from the hospital, so do not feel pressured by anyone. In the end, if your child asks you someday how you came up with the name, you did give him or her; you can say with all honesty that it was not chosen lightly.

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