Giving A Child Just The Right Name

Katie Young
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Wednesday - August 13, 2008

I could have been a “Megan” or, if I had been a boy, a “Thomas.” But thank goodness my parents had the sense to not name me something completely obscure, like, “Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.”

Impossible, you say? That’s far too weird a name for any parent to consider naming their child? Not so. Some poor little girl in New Zealand lived with that name for nine years of her life.

Lord only knows what that did to her emotionally. I mean, I get frustrated just having to explain to everyone that my legal name (Kathrin) is spelled as such with no “y” and no “e.”

That was my parents’ way of making a common name unique, although it sometimes means my insurance won’t cover my prescriptions when the claims are filed and my name is misspelled.

But I certainly don’t have it as bad as poor Talula. Thanks to a family court judge in New Zealand, however, Talula was made a ward of the court so that her name could be changed.

The judge, Rob Murfitt, said he was concerned about the poor judgment of the child’s parents in choosing the name for the little girl. The judge wrote, “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.”

The girl’s lawyer told the court that Talula had been so embarrassed at the name that she didn’t even tell her closest friends what it was.

Judge Murfitt also cited a list of other badly chosen names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, which registration officials blocked. Sadly, however, some were allowed, including Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence.

Now will someone please tell me what would possess parents to name their child in such a manner? What were these people thinking? They obviously weren’t thinking about what their child would have to endure growing up with such names.

Our name is perhaps the most important part of us. Every time you meet someone new, for the rest of your life, you will introduce yourself by your name. Everything about who you are will be wrapped up in your name. “Bob” is a businessman and environmental activist who loves to go fishing on the weekends. People who know “Bob” will think of these things when his name is mentioned.

I can see how some parents, in an attempt to create a unique persona for their child, will try to give them the most unusual name they can think of. After all, their child is one-of-a-kind, right? Perhaps they think if the name is strange enough it will make the child unforgettable. I highly doubt, however, your child wants to be remembered for having the weirdest name around. As children grow older, they will only resent having to explain their names to everyone who asks - and people will ask.

But those names mentioned above are just absurd. You might not want your child’s name to be so common that five other kids in his or her class are named the same thing, but let’s be reasonable.

My husband and I have started coming up with names that we like for our baby. The main thought that runs through my head with each name is, “Does it rhyme with something bad that other children can tease my baby about?”

One pregnancy book I read suggested naming my child after cooking spices to be unique - Cumin, Coriander, Paprika, Oregano? I don’t think so.

I want my child to have a name that is beautiful and will not cause him or her any unnecessary social stress. I don’t think I need to name my baby something outrageous to make him or her feel unique, special and oneof-a-kind.

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