Friday, July 22, 2022

Things you should consider when naming a child

" A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

- Dale Carnegie, How to Make Friends and Influence People

It's true that Shakespeare's Juliet told Romeo that a ' rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  However, I have to agree with Dale Carnegie.  Names do matter.  In fact, they matter a great deal in someone's life.  That's why I have always been fascinated by names and stories about how and why someone was given certain name.

One thing I would recommend is that parents don't commonly call their children by a second name or a third name.  After 9/11, it is preferable to refer to a child by the first name on their birth certificate.  Here is a case in point.  John Lennon's son, Julian, by his first wife, Cynthia, legally changed his name.  You can understand why when I tell you that Julian's birth certificate read John Charles Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon

In the podcast Word in Your Ear, Julian, a 59-year-old singer/songwriter, explained why he changed his moniker to Julian Charles John Lennon.  He revealed that the pandemic played a major role in his decision.  Here's what he said: "It was in 2020, just before we all got locked in a cage, that I finally actually decided to legally change my name by default.  Because originally my name was John Charles Julian Lennon, and the crap that I had to deal with when travelling and security companies and this and that and the other.  Whenever you had to present yourself, especially on like boarding passes, just as an example, you know they only use your first name, so it would always be, "John Lennon, John Lennon.'  So I became quite fearful and anxious about those scenarios.  So it became really uncomfortable over the years because I've always been known as Julian and so it (being called John) never felt like it was me.  So I finally just decided 'Yeah, I wanna be me now.  This is it, it's time for a change.'"

I understand how Julian felt because the name on my birth certificate is also different from the one I am called every day. My parents could not have foreseen 9/11, nor could Julian's,  At least, he was never known as John Lennon Jr.

I am also not an advocate of naming a child "junior," especially if the child has a famous father.  I believe a child needs his or her own identity.

Here are some other tips I have compiled for naming children:

* Make sure that the child's first name goes well with the last name, especially if you have a last name such as "Foote" or "Pigg" or a first name like "Harry."  

* Avoid choosing a first name that ends with the same letter that begins the last name - for example "Paul Lyon."  When the full name is pronounced quickly, the first and last names blend together as "Paulyon."

* If the last name is long, it is probably better to choose a short first name and vice versa.   

* Don't chose a name if you really dislike the shortened version of the name. For example, don't call your daughter "Samantha" if you absolutely don't want her to be called "Sam."  People naturally tend to shorten names, particularly three or four syllable ones.  Some names, such as Helen, are never shortened, for obvious reasons.

* Don't saddle a child with a name that is obviously trendy or badly outdated.  This will always date the child.  

* Unless you want your child to constantly correct the spelling of his or her name, don't choose a really unusual spelling of a name.

- Joanne