What is in a name? Just about everything!

I read that a lot of parents regret the names they have given their children. One reason cited by parents for desiring a change is that the name is too popular. Don’t tell you did not see that one coming? I wonder why the name Edward ranks at about number 40 in the UK in 2010. Think you’re the only one who read Twilight and likes the old suave gentleman sound of the name? Hey, the people in 1880 loved it even more. Imagine trying to quieten a group of unruly boys then – Edward J. stop punching Edward B. in the face! Edward S. stop feeding Edward the Second soil! 🙂

I also read somewhere else that parents regret spelling a common name in an unconventional way. The motivation was to give their child a unique name. Imagine Irene being spelled Ayreen instead of Irene. After the umpteenth time of having to say, “No, it is not with an ‘i’. It is with an ‘ay’”, I would want to change my name too. What is wrong with sticking to conventional spelling anyway? If you really want to give your child a unique name be brave and choose a unique name!

Another reason mentioned by parents for wanting to change names of their children is that the given name does not suit the personality of their child. That is an interesting point. I have played name guessing games with Mr. M before. For instance, based on the way a person talks or behaves, we try to guess his or her name. He looks like a John no more like a Justin. Sometimes I have caught myself saying, he doesn’t come across like a James (or some other name). The point is we do associate certain names with certain types of people. But do names have an influence in a child’s development? Would I be any different now, if Esther had become my calling name? I guess, I would never find out. 🙂

I love the story of the way I got my name. My mom wanted her dad to name me and he was praying for a name. I was born and still no name. In the meantime, my dad started calling me Irene. After about a month, my grandpa gave me the name Esther. But by that time, Irene had stuck and therefore I ended up having 2 first names. My mom told me that years later, she found out Irene was the name of one of my dad’s ex-girlfriends. Wasn’t it cheeky of him to do so? 🙂

But I am happy with my name. Irene means Peace in Greek. How cool is that? It is not a common name among my generation, so I seldom find another Irene in the same group of people. It is an international name. The Germans pronounce it differently to the English and I the love the way it sounds in French. (Then again I love the sound of just about anything in French – even cursing sounds so romantic. But I am digressing here.) The good thing about a name like Irene is that it does not mean something strange or funny in another language. I am reminded of a scene in episode 14 in Season 5 of How I met your mother. It is the scene where Ted assumes there is a fake name on the attendance list and makes fun of the name Cook Poo. (I am sure it is written differently but then the joke is loses its punch line.) When I think about it, most of my Chinese classmates had given themselves English names. Were they ashamed of their own names or was it simply not cool not to have an English name? I wonder yet again!

I like having a middle name. I think it is a shame that no one ever uses my middle name. It is my name but somehow I do not have a connection with it. I feel like an impostor whenever I use it. Furthermore growing up in Asia meant that my surname was written before my first names. So my initials were L.I.E. – not great and children can be very cruel. Need I say more? Another aspect parents need to consider when naming their child. After secondary school, my name was often a cause of disappointment to the others. With a name like Irene Lefort, people were expecting to see an exotic white girl and there I was – an Indian girl with 2 long braids. Nothing special about her! I still cause confusion for a fraction of a second, when I stand up whenever my name is called out in a waiting room. It sounds so German that people do not expect a dark haired and dark skinned person to answer to that name. I do not fit into any of the drawers people have set up in their minds. My name contributes to this situation as well and I would not dream of changing it.

Are you happy with your name? Given the chance, would you change your name and what would you change it too?
Related Articles
1. www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/23/baby-name-regret_n_1296266.html
2. http://www.babynamewizard.com/namipedia/boy/edward

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5 thoughts on “What is in a name? Just about everything!

  1. i’m ciaran which most annoying canadians pronounce karen and other people remind me its a boy’s name. i have no middle name to fall back on either, clearly my parents, not imaginative! lol

    • Interesting choice of name. I just googled it and it means “Dark” or “Black”. Do your ancestors come from Ireland or did your parents tell you why they gave you this name? Just curious that’s all! 🙂

      • yep, i’m from ireland! well, my great grandparents came from there and my hair and eyes are dark brown. maybe that’s why! 😀 …i’ve never asked them…

      • hmmm… my fantasy ran away with me on this one. Maybe it was the name of the place where your parents saw each other for the first time. (But I couldn’t find a place called Ciaran on Google.) Or they were standing under a picture of St. Ciaran as your mother told your father that she was pregnant! … hmm nice scenes for a book. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂 Have a nice day! Cheers!

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