It’s just over two months till “the mothership” (my darling wife) gives birth to our baby boy, and we are still a bit up in the air on what we should name him. Should it be a family name? A modern name. A masculine name? Celebrity? Unique? Biblical? Gender neutral? So many choices… so many thousands of hours to be wasted.
It is a hard task. How do you name someone you’ve never met? Will it be right for them? Will it dictate their destiny? Will Noah feel like the perfect name and then when he pops out he has the face and personality of a Steve or Paul or a Shelby?
I have heard that naming a baby is the hardest part of being pregnant. I’m going to out on a limb and wager that the person who said that was probably a man, as there’s no way in hell that a woman carrying a growing, spinning, kicking little human inside of them would ever utter those words.
Baby names. Where to start.
I think the first thing when considering a name is how easily it rolls off the tongue, in case you need to raise your voice if they’re gluing their sister to the floor. I cannot stress how important this is. So, make sure the first and middle names have some cadence to it, complementing not competing with each other. “Harper Maree! Stop teasing your sister!” See, that has a nice ring to it. Short. Punchy. Effective. “Valentina Astrid, get dressed!” That’s slightly more cumbersome and may lose the desired effect in the heat of the moment.
Can a name affect your future success?
Parents feel happier giving their children names that have real meaning. This does have some historical origins. Consider the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Names literally and figuratively meant something back then. If you were a Miller, you most likely milled grain. A Franklin meant you were a landowner, but not of noble birth. A Parson was a religious man. If you had the unfortunate name of Crapper, well let’s just say you had your work cut out for you. And you probably had trouble getting dates on a Friday night.
As it turns out, something as simple as pronunciation could play a major part. In a New York University study, researchers found that people with easier-to-pronounce names often have higher-status positions at work. One of the psychologists, Adam Alter, explains to Wired, ‘When we can process a piece of information more easily, when it’s easier to comprehend, we come to like it more.’ In a further study, Alter also found that companies with simpler names and ticker symbols tended to perform better in the stock market.
Go with your gut.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with giving your baby a name that you happen to fancy. Be careful to make sure that the name won’t cause him some emotional damage years down the line. So, try it out on an animal or house plant first. Take my old cat, Cleocatra, for instance. That would have been a horrible name to live with as a human child, but my cat managed just fine. He was a particularly dumb cat, however. So, that might not be the best example.
Loads of parents choose a name because they happen to like a celebrity with the same name. This may seem like a great idea at the time, but do a little research to make sure that particular celebrity has a good track record. Once they (the celebrity) go off the rails and do something stupid and unforgettable, it could get ugly. Just ask all the Harvey’s, Donald’s, Asia’s and Kevin’s of the world if they’d like to change their names.
As you research the family and celebrity names, scan the baby sites and choose a desired profession for your bundle of joy, think about these things: Keep the baby name simple, make it meaningful, give it balance and choose something cool. Because they have to live with it for the rest of their lives. And they’ll never forgive you if you screw it up.