“What’s in a name?” Juliet had a good question then and it remains a good question now. There are thousands of theories of whether a traditional name or unique name enables a child to succeed more or less, there was an article in the Guardian recently that listed names in order of how likely it’d be those names would attend Oxford university (An Eleanor is most likely, a Stacey least likely according to them if anyone’s interested!) there are favourites based on region, class, heritage, religion. But how much of a difference can it really make? More than your parents, education, personal circumstances and personality? Personally, I feel like there are many more factors influencing your child’s future than their name.
Yes, it’s an important decision, and one that can have negative consequences if you don’t think it through, with a surname initial of J, we certainly won’t be choosing a name beginning with B for our little girl. Teasing at school is inevitable without us making it that easy for them! Likewise, I feel my parents could have thought it through slightly more when they chose Danielle with a surname like Lade, Miss-Lade, ‘Lade an egg’ etc etc were jokes waiting to happen and were unavoidable, but D-Lade could have been side stepped. That said, my surname was never going to leave me totally tease free so what was one more? Jokes aside, I am most fond and proud of both my maiden and married surnames, and I personally have never felt held back or particularly thrust forward by my chosen first name.
As we’ve been looking through we have found certain names that we’ve shortlisted, mainly based either on names from within our family history or names that we like the sound of. We’ve also vetoed names we have negative connotations with, from the extreme examples (the name Adolf for example will probably not see a popularity resurgence for the foreseeable future) to the slightly more mundane, “that child Tahlia down the road has been throwing stones near the car again,” type reasons to put you off a name! But do we worry that any of our favourite names may hinder the child’s potential success? No not really, there’s a hugely successful singer called ‘Englebert Humperdinck’ for goodness sake! (I know that’s not his real name but you get my point)
We’ve had all the usual advice, not to get too fixed on a name before the babies born as we may find that when she arrives she doesn’t look like she suits that name; likewise we were warned that you can choose a name and then go off it which we have found somewhat with a couple of our favourites. It’s funny how strongly other people feel about name choices but it’s definitely one of those subjects that everyone has strong preferences towards. It’s one of the top ten reasons for family disputes in the lead up to child birth, a statistic that sounds utterly ridiculous but can cause a lot of friction.
You can’t be sure if it would make a difference, because you cannot predict if the child’s future would have gone any differently with a different name. With the benefit of alternative universes, maybe we could discover that calling our baby girl Emma would have lead to a career in astrophysics and we’ll feel bad for choosing the name Linda because she hates her office job and wishes we’d gone for Bella which would have seen her become a Hollywood star. As it is, it’s so exciting for now to know that endless possibilities await her and we are relatively certain that our choice of name won’t cut out any of the options. Our financial situation, personal teachings and the experiences we give her on the other hand will definitely affect her path in life but hopefully whatever name we anoint her will not. A rose by any other name would indeed smell as sweet, and Romeo and Juliet would most likely have had just as tragic an ending if they’d been called Steve and Jane so whatever you choose to name your little one, decide it loud and announce it proud! What’s in a name? Whatever you decide!