Think Barbeque Not Malaria (Baby Names Part 3)

For months after a celebrity announces a pregnancy, the tabloids and internet are replete with pictures and stories to fascinate and obsess the reader. Those who get sucked into the story wait with bated breath to find out what their beloved superstar has named the new baby.  Imagine their disappointment when they see the birth announcement of Melba Toast Jackson or Asbestos Smith. 

One of the first impressions of another person is based on his name.  Even if a man is elegantly dressed in a tuxedo, it’s impossible to take him seriously once you learn his name is Pogo.  When we name our children, their future happiness is riding in the balance.  They would greatly appreciate a name that does not later embarrass them or conjure up images of fruit or cartoon characters.  Sophisticated and classy names such as James, Ethan, Emily, and Michelle instill confidence in a child, as they can introduce themselves without shame or fear of harassment.

Spelling and pronunciation should also be considered when naming a child.  Think about how many times in life he will have to state his name: in school, at job interviews, at restaurants, on the phone, etc.  The name may be cute to a parent, but that person now has to go through life constantly explaining, “It’s like James, but with a G,” or “I’m Phred with a Ph, not an F.” Some parents even remove crucial letters from names, leaving the child to go through life saying, “It’s Q-N-T-N, but it’s pronounced Quentin.”  Could I buy a vowel, please?  This almost guarantees playground torture, and these kids grow up envying their classmates named “Joe” and “Tim.” 

Some kids spend most of their life correcting people on both the spelling and pronunciation of their name.  At the beginning of every school year, they have to correct every teacher in all of their classrooms for a couple of months before they catch on.  Most kids do not appreciate this extra attention, and some have anxiety over it for many years.  When it comes time to name your children, choose names that will not result in therapy.   

Many times when I have encountered a little child with a bizarre name, the mother has explained that it was her maiden name or a relative’s name.  Naming after family members is a nice gesture, depending on the name.  Sometimes people use difficult LAST names, and a little girl could be Googenville or Buxbaum.  If an unusual name has that much intrinsic value, you might want to consider using it for a middle name.

Some parents think it’s cool to name kids after their favorite places.  If you are considering this option, you must understand what works and what constitutes abuse.  Follow The Lone Star Corollary when naming your child:  Places in Texas are safe compared to exotic lands.


Dallas (Texas)          Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)

Austin (Texas)          Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

Houston (Texas)        Tegucigalpa (Honduras)


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