Monday, May 18, 2020

Should you name your child Junior?

Names have always fascinated me.  They are one my favourite topics of conversation. To me, one's moniker is profoundly important.  It defines you to a certain extent.  It is part of your identity.  That's why I enjoy hearing stories of how and why people were given their names.

Back in 2017, there were rumours that BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z were planning to name their twins Bea and Shawn Jr., after themselves (Jay-Z's real name is Shawn Corey Carter.).  This did not meet with very much approval on the Internet.  Why?  To some it was a sign of narcissism.  To others, it showed a lack of imagination.or creativity.

As it turned out, BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z named their daughter Rumi and their son Sir.  Sir?  Well, I have to admit those aren't names I would have chosen.  By the way, the couple called their first child,. a daughter, Blue Ivy., who was born in New York City in 2012.

I am not a fan of naming a child "Junior,"  although it means a great deal to some people.  To them, naming after a parent (usually a first son) is a symbol of family pride, family fealty and continuity.  I understand that, but I still maintain a personal dislike of the tradition.

Here's why I wouldn't name a child " "Junior."

1.  A child needs to develop his or her own identity.  Calling a child "Junior," invites comparisons to a parent, which must be very difficult for children of celebrities, politicians and great achievers.  Think of Frank Sinatra Jr. (1944-2016) and John F. Kennedy Jr. (1960-1999).

Frank Sinatra Jr.

John F. Kennedy Jr.

2.  Having two people in the same household with the same name can cause confusion.  Sometimes, in order to distinguish between father and son, the son is given a nickname.  For example, JFK Jr. was called John-John.

3.  It does show a lack of imagination and it doesn't require a great deal of thought.

4.  In many cases, it is egotistical and narcissistic.  That's why it's no surprise that Donald Trump's first born son is Donald Jr.

 This practice of naming after a parent, in most cases a father or paternal ancestor, has always been popular among the upper classes.  Having a name such as John W.. Williams IV is often regarded as a status symbol, a sign of wealth and privilege.

In some cultures, the firstborn son is traditionally named after his paternal grandfather and the first daughter after the paternal grandmother.  (I am the firstborn female in my family and I was named after my paternal grandmother).  When that happens, the family is stuck with the same name for generations and many cousins find themselves sharing the same name.  Fewer fresh names are introduced into the family.

Choosing a baby's name is, of course, a highly personal matter.  It is very subjective and it's definitely a matter of taste.  What appeals to some, may not appeal to others.  Some people prefer classic names.  To others, such names are boring and stodgy.  Some do not want their child to have a really popular name.  They prefer names that are less conventional, which they consider more colourful and exciting.

In the end, I think naming should  be left to the parents.  It's not a good idea for grandparents, other relatives or friends to interfere with the selection of a baby's name.  It can cause a family rift.  That's why It should be strongly avoided unless it is plainly evident that the name that the parents have chosen will subject the child to extreme ridicule and bullying.  In that case, grandparents or other worried relatives and friends should diplomatically express their concern to the parents.  This should be done for the welfare of the child.

Here  are my suggestions for naming a child.

* Make sure you pick a name that goes well with the child's last name.

*  Call the child by the name that appears first on his or her birth certificate.  Don't call the child by a middle name or some other name.  The name that appears on the birth certificate is the one that will appear on the child's passport, driver's licence and other government information.  That's a consequence of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that we have to live with.

* Don't pick a name that is trendy.  It will date the child when he or she becomes older.

*  If you strongly dislike the shortened version of a name, avoid choosing that name.  Although it's common courtesy to ask someone permission before shortening their name, not everyone does so.


I'd like to know what you think.  If you are a "Junior," how has it affected you?  Send me an email and will post your responses.

- Joanne

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