Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's in a name?

One of my colleagues is pregnant and we're all having a great time trying to guess the name she and her husband have selected for their baby. It's all in good fun since we know we can't break her and she seems pretty confident that we won't figure it out. I can't blame her for keeping this important information under wraps. She knows that once we meet the baby and learn her name, we'll all agree that it's the perfect fit. To disclose this valuable information prematurely unnecessarily opens the soon-to-be parents up to undesired comments and criticism. My own mom will read this blog and likely call or email soon thereafter to ask if this is about "Jonah" so before I go on - no Mom, I assure you I'm over it and I love you.

Implicit in the comments and criticism about baby name selection is the recognition that names are very important and people genuinely want to help you avoid a major potential blunder of parenthood.
You can empower your child with the right name or burden your child with the wrong name. Name selection is one of those first overwhelming parental responsibilities where you really could mess up and ruin your child's life. My daughter just reminded me of a news report she once saw which introduced a woman named Marijuana Pepsi whose parents insisted that she be called only by her full name. Need I say more?!

The truth is that no matter how hard we try to find the most beautiful, potential-filled, meaningful names for our wonderful children, chances are pretty good that they will not be as enamored of the names we choose as we are. I spent hours as a child fantasizing about what my life would have been like had I been named Debbie or Jill! I'm lucky my parents recognized that my name alone could not shape me and I needed them for so much more. The way I see it is that naming your child the most wonderful name you could imagine is one of the first things that parents do for their children and it's important to choose a name both parents truly adore and have the ability to defend to their child like a thesis. That is the name they will utter through gritted teeth and yell at the top of their lungs through the youth of the child . As for the child, he or she can always legally change their name or add the name fiasco to the laundry list of items to be covered in therapy.

Here are three great name related books to consider:
One of my faves! Great for 4-8  year olds.

One of my own kids' all-time favorites! Great through preschool.
How original are you? How original is your name? Two teens bearing the same names meet in this story written by two stars in the world of young adult novels.

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