There was a lot of traffic on my FB yesterday after the piece I did on giving kids in Aruba names which are difficult to spell or pronounce, in the name of originality.
The piece was titled “What’s in A Name,” and after all the exchanges on my page, my educated friend Myriam Tonk-Croes, continue to ask me so… “What’s in a Name?”
Here is what I know, and Patrick Brown already summed it up: “It’s a proven fact that these strange names will hamper the bearer in all sorts of ways later in life, be it finding a job or finding a partner. Putting your child at a disadvantage in life by giving him or her, such a very “unique” name is regrettable.”
And I will add to his statement that naming a child is like giving him a road map. Naming him after an accomplished departed elder honors the family member and gives the child a role model to follow, a direction in life.
Naming a child after a national hero, a member of the royal family, or a righteous biblical personality sets the bar high, sending the newborn a signal that expectations were set, and he has a lifetime to meet them.
And that’s how people grow into their names, to become useful members of our society, motivated to honor the greatness that their name implies.
When you name a child respectfully and meaningfully, you are setting him up for a smooth co-existence, with his/her teachers and even the tax authority – they will never be asked to spell or pronounce their names, the margin of error is minimal.
Names may also hint at a family’s country of origin, Oliver would be British, Sean Irish, Antonio Italian and Kwanzaa, African. But with globalization, you can never tell. We often borrow named across borders. (Barak mean lightning, in Hebrew)
To conclude the naming saga, I remember my son had a co-worker at the Ritz Carlton by the name of Esmaili. I asked. He explained. His Dominican mother decided to call her baby Smiley, and Esmaili is what she heard, phonetically. I also found the name Usnavy, which is popular in the Dominican Republic. Having seen US Navy, scribbled across the bow of a ship in the harbor, Usnavy became a proper first name.
So what’s in a name? Your road map for life!