Thursday, July 17, 2008

How parents name their children

Now, this interests me more than some might think:

Perhaps, we should just pick a sufficiently popular and sufficiently unique - that strange balance all new parents seek in a child's name - and be done with it. But, identity is all a person is, and name is an overarching part of that identity.
I find this to be an interesting discussion, because I've heard some names in my life that made me scratch my head. Why, for instance, would anyone name their child "Pepsi"? Look, just hand all your money to Pepsico and get it over with, already!

If you're religious, or just plain don't want your kid's name to draw raised eyebrows, you've an embarrassment of riches from which to choose. Which begs the question as to why anyone would ever, in a billion years, name a child John. I love all the Johns in my life (insert your own joke there), but it's the Judeo-Christian equivalent of a Muslim naming their son Mohammad. It's the ultimate lack of creative thinking. Nor would I ever give a son my own name...that IMHO robs a kid of a certain identity.

My name is Paul Matthew, given to me by my devoutly Catholic parents. They'd had three other sons by that point, and run out of male relatives for the bestowing of middle names. I don't mind it as much as I used to, but Paul has always struck me as being a bit soft (and let's be honest, I need more mental and physical toughness in my life).

To draw a few random thoughts:
  • Saint Paul was a prolific and gifted writer with a talent for persuasion. I'm a gifted and prolific writer with a knack for pissing people off.
  • Saint Paul was a militant persecutor of Christians who converted to one of them. I'm a former Christian with a certain lack of patience with religion, but who is trying to sort out a lot of how I feel about that past.
  • Saint Paul wrote about how women should submit to their husbands. I have enough trouble getting a date as it is...
  • Saint Paul got knocked off a horse. I ride bikes. 'Nuff said.
So, I guess I can see where choosing the name of a child is such a profound responsibility, and just the first of many, when you get down to it.

Yet another reason I'd be a bad parent. I have enough trouble keeping the house picked up.

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