Weekly Dish Blog - What’s In a Name?
Naming your new baby is one of the hardest things to do, isn’t it? From the second you find out you’re pregnant, you start contemplating what name to bestow upon this new precious little life. When you find out the gender ahead of time, that at least wipes out 50% of your choices (except for those gender-neutral names!)! But choosing just the right name is a difficult task, one that becomes even moreso when you have raging hormones coursing through your veins!
We’ve all seen name trends through the years. Without actually giving my age, you’ll probably guess it when I tell you I grew up with “Susans”, “Karens”, “Kathys”, “Donnas” and “Nancys”. (I know, I know, those names are right up there with Thor and Ug).
The 70’s and 80’s brought a rush of names like Courtney, Katelyn, Ashley, Melissa, Jessica, Stephanie, Heather, Jason, Jared, Nicholas and Zachary.
Boys’ names don’t seem to change all that much through the years though. The traditional Biblical names for boys have always been a mainstay with Michael, Joseph, Daniel, Christopher, James, Jacob and Matthew consistently being in the top ten. (Even going back to 1900, the top five boys’ names were John, William, James, George & Charles! They don’t tend to vary too much.)
The mid-2000’s brought a resurgence of girls’ names that possibly their great grandmothers had like, Abigail, Emma, Isabella, Hannah, Olivia. The boys’ names were still quite Biblical, like the names mentioned above, but now with added Ethans, Ryans, Dylans, and Nathans thrown in for good measure. So who knows, maybe the children of today’s toddlers will be named Mary, Kathy, Sharon, Carol, Robert, and William.
But how could your child’s name affect them later on in life? A UK study showed that when boys were given names that could be deemed a little more feminine such as Ashley or Shannon, there was nothing unusual in their everyday behavior in school, but when they hit about the 5th or 6th grade, they started to get teased and even harassed by the other boys. These otherwise well-behaved little boys started becoming aggressive and confrontational. So much so, according to the study, that teachers at the start of the new school year can often look down the roster of names of their soon-to-be students and can sometimes tell which children could be a problem, SOLELY because other children will make fun of their names. Wow, yet ANOTHER burden of responsibility to put on parents – having to come up with the perfectly correct name! One in five parents, again according to the study, regret the name they gave their child.
But alas, take heart, parents, if your child grows up and doesn’t like their name, they can do what these famous people did – just change it!!
Caryn Johnson sounds like an Avon lady, but Whoopi Goldberg didn’t like it, so she changed it (according to her own words, she had a slight “gas” issue as a child and she was dubbed that dubious title! Again with the nasty little classmates!!)
And with a birth-given name like Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (come on, parents, really??), you can’t blame Lady Gaga for taking on an alternative name!!
Would Bob Dylan have gotten as far as he has if he kept Robert Zimmerman as his name while he was belting out “Blowin’ in the Wind”?
The beloved Judy Garland of Wizard of Oz fame started out life with the horrendous name of Frances Gumm! (Somewhere over the rainbow from hell!)
And somehow, can you image a beaded-dressed, 6”-stilleto-heeled woman by the name of Annie Mae Bullock singing Proud Mary? No? Well neither could Tina Turner which is why she changed her name too!
So you see, don’t
worry about it, parents, because the Homer Shlubman of today could be the
Marshall VanDerHaven of tomorrow!! So even though your child probably won’t
be 100% thrilled with the name you’ve given them, they can always
change it, but they’ll always be “Little Homer Shlubman”