In the last several months I've gotten an education on the very provocative subject of names. I have to admit, I was completely ignorant of how strongly people feel about naming and, specifically, the names of children that do not belong to them. That's not to say that there aren't names that I like better than others, but short of Pooter McPantstains, I can't really think of any names that I think are really awful. In naming our child, I've kind of developed my own personal philosophy of naming, i.e. the qualities that are important to me. Mind you, I don't think I've invented the wheel, or that other people should follow my thoughts, but this is what helped me decide on his name.
1. Originality: I must say, this was not a crucial factor for me and I realize that this makes me different from a lot of people of my generation. I truly would have no problem with him having the same name as another kid in his class. I can't understand why that's a problem. In fact, I seem to fall in the other camp. I don't want for him to lead with his name, if that makes sense. I don't need for him to have a name that defines him, but hope, instead, that he fills his name with meaning on his own. Afterall, I've haven't even met this guy and he's going to grown into his very own person, regardless of what the internet says his name means.
2. Genetics: I think we all imagine that our children will somehow be creatures of physical and mental perfection, but I think it's important to remember whose genes are in the mix. If two very small people have a child, there is a strong chance that that child will be small. It's cool. I'm a shorty, so I can say these things. If, per chance, your small child is a small boy child, perhaps it's best to avoid naming him Brutus. That's just an example for two tiny people, you know what you're working with. Just a thought.
3. Children (God willing) grow up to be adults: It's hard for me to imagine that our baby will one day be kicking his legs outside of my belly, so I can totally relate to the fact that it's hard to imagine him being 6...19...60. Even still, his name has to last him a while and, for me, it's important that he have a name that he can grow into. Some names are cute, but will they be suitable for an adult? On a related note, it has to be acknowledged that your child may go into any number of career fields and there are some names/spellings that just won't garner as much respect.
4. Teasing: This particular aspect of naming is the most ridiculous to me. When we first shared with people our son's name, which by the way is Peter/Pete, we got a few comments. A few suggested that he will be made fun of. Let me be clear about this. Every child gets made fun of at some point. If the worst thing my son ever gets teased about is his name then I will be grateful. If you think that you were never made fun of, then one of three things is in play (1) you are too old to remember, (2) you were excessively sheltered, (3) or no one ever said it to your face. I can't insulate him from other kids, nor would I. My hope is that I can raise a resilient person who learns how to handle what comes at him. AND (can you tell this makes me mad?!?) what child under 10 has ever heard Peter used as a euhamism for anything? I would personally make fun of that child for such a dated insult. Also, in a time when people intentionally mispell their childrens' names, make them up out of thin air, and borrow five syllable last names from imaginary aristocratic relatives, I think the playground will be filled with lots of little glass houses from which stones won't be thrown quite as easily.
5. Pleasing the crowd: It may take three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, it may take a village to raise a child, but it only takes one or two people to name a child, and those are his or her parents. Everyone has the opportunity to name their own. I don't know why people feel so strongly about the names of other people's children, but I've been on the recieving end of a few rude remarks from people I barely even know. At first this made me think I was crazy, but then I started hearing from other people with all kinds of names for their children who had also be subjected to the World's opinion and commentary. You truly cannot please everyone.