I was shocked when I came across an article listing the fastest rising baby names of 2014. Major, King, and Messiah topped the boys list, but a little research uncovered even more absurdity. Another article listing the hottest names of 2015 introduced us to Alivia, Bryony, Indie, and Pandora. And of course who could forget the names Jerusalem, Sabbath, Bender, and my two personal favorites, Babble and Unique. What’s going on here?
I guess I’m just a traditionalist when it comes to naming your children. My daughter Kelly’s middle name is Anne, her mom’s name. My son TJ is named after me, Tim, and my dad, Joseph. And my son John got his name from both my middle name and two of his great great grandfathers. His middle name, Cortopassi, was my mom’s maiden name. Using ancestor’s names is a way of honoring them and connecting kids to their past. It’s disturbing to me how few children know the origin of their names.
There are reasons why parents want to give their offspring a name that stands out. We are living in an age where everyone wants their kids to have a leg up, to stand out from the crowd, to be unique, and to attract attention and fame. Every child I see in my counseling practice is described by his or her parents as being bright; apparently average C students have gone the way of the flip phone. We indulge kids by treating them as if they are a miracle, coddling them with kid gloves and at the same time pushing them to be their perfect best in everything. The new normal is perfection.
I guess I might open up Pandora’s box if I keep on Babbling here, so I’ll conclude by saying it’s not really the odd names that bother me, it’s the cultural message behind them. I encourage you to focus less on your kids having an edge and being unique and more on helping them to develop grit, integrity, self-motivation, and self-efficacy. That’s how they will make a name for themselves.