What’s in a name?

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There is a famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” where Juliet goes on to describe her new found love of Romeo.

Photo by Sebastian Molina fotografía on Unsplash

And yes, when we speak of things like roses and trees and the other objects in this world I doubt what we call them matters a whole lot.

However when choosing a name for our children there are many things people choose to consider.

Considerations to think about when naming kids

There are plenty of sites out there that tell you what to think about when discussing this with your partner. I know I’ve read a bunch. But when hubs and I were considering names for our first born these were the factors that got discussed.

  1. Had to be something everyone in the family could pronounce on both sides. (My family is all Canadian, hubs is from the Ukraine…)
  2. Couldn’t be a plant/flower/fruit/edible/or other inanimate object
  3. Had to be something the kid would be proud putting on a resume
  4. Had to be something that wouldn’t automatically make them a target for teasing and bullying (though we recognized that we couldn’t eliminate this possibility the song “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash came to mind)
  5. If we knew someone with the name it needed to be a person we respected.

Naming after someone you know

The name we finally settled on (we knew he was a boy fairly early in the pregnancy) is a combination of all the above.

For a first name, we chose my grandfather on my Dad’s side I can honestly say I had wanted to use this name for most of my adult life. Not just as a recognition of what that man has done for me and my family. But because it is a solid name.

To me that name it’s self is indicative of someone with integrity. As I believe that names can hold meaning and power over a person I wanted to give our first born a name that spoke to the kind of person I hoped he would be. We shall see how that works out for him as he grows, but so far he is showing signs of it.

Photo by Manuel Schinner on Unsplash

But this is also a name that sparks a deep joy for me, a celebration if you will of an absolutely amazing man. One that looked after others and had respect for all.

He was strong in his faith and a pillar of the community in which he lived.

I can remember being told by someone once (I don’t remember who) that when you made a handshake deal with my grandpa it was better then a paper contract with anyone else. Because you knew he would always follow through. And typically he did better for you then he promised.

His reputation was such that when he passed away in the middle of an agricultural town during harvest, and the funeral was on a perfect day to be in the field. The farmers for miles around shut down and came to honour him.

And every time I call my son by that name, I’m reminded of the amazement I had when I realized what that meant.

I still cry thinking of that day, almost 13 years ago.

We also decided to give our boy a middle name. Now I’m not a fan of big long names, but a first, middle, last seems balanced enough.

For this one my husband picked a name. Which is actually his Dad’s name.

I don’t know all his logic that went into it, but at one point we were driving home and I turned to him and asked him which name he wanted for kiddos 2nd name. He thought about it for a bit and said his Dad’s name.

So Kiddo is named after his Great Grandpa on my side. And his Grandpa on his Dad’s side.

Both awesome men, though I’ll admit I’m still getting to know my Father-in-law which can be challenging due to language barriers. But I figure he had a hand in raising the amazing man I’m married to, so he’s got to be pretty awesome himself. ?

The meaning behind the name/word

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There are all sorts of sites out there that will tell you what the name of your child means.  I caution you here though on how that information gets used.

You see words can hurt.  And if we define a person based on a name it can restrict them in ways we may not see a head of time.

For instance, I’ve always been told that my first name means strong.  Usually this is followed with my 2nd/middle name meaning gift from God.  But the emphasis has always been on my first name.

In any situation you can think of Strong likely is seen as a good thing.  Our Society praises it above so much else.

But when you feel like you always have to be strong, like you have no place where weakness of any kind is alowed.  Lets just say you will drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with the deffinition.

We all have vulnerabilities, and we all need to trust someone in our lives.  Other wise we just build up walls around us to keep people out so we seem “strong enough”.  Belive me I’ve tried to live up to that deffinition too much in my life.  And to a certian extent I now don’t know how to turn it off, even when I want to.

So all I say is be careful what importance you place on the so called meaning behind the name.  And be especially careful how you tell that meaning to your kiddo if you share it at all.

We wouldn’t want them to think that living up to that deffinition is the only way they will ever have your love.  Especially when we know that is not true. 😉