I want my child’s names to be beautiful, to be unique and to have meaning. Am I making this too hard?
The short answer is no. Naming your child is one of the most important responsibilities of all new parents. The name you give your child will be with them for life. It welcomes them into your family and plays a significant role in defining who they become.
If you’re asking yourself questions about uniqueness and meaning you are asking yourself the right questions. Many also must consider complicated relationships with heritage, culture and language. It can feel a very over-whelming.
So how does one navigate this complicated process?
Having worked through it many time with clients, my advice is to get organised and list out the significant influencing factors for your child’s name.
- The sex of your child. Do you want a feminine or masculine name, or something less binary?
- Language. Is there more than one language to consider?
- Culture. What are the parents cultural backgrounds? Are they similar, or different?
This will give you a starting framework for name explorations.
Imagine you are having a girl, you have Hawaiian and Chilean heritage and you have families that speak English, Hawaiian and Spanish then you might start by looking into girl’s names in these three languages. You could refine for names that have meaning or make sense in more than one language (or at least are not awkward or odd in another language). This will give you one list
Imagine you are having a girl, you have Hawaiian and Chilean heritage and you have families that speak English, Hawaiian and Spanish then you might start by looking into girl’s names in these three languages. You could refine for names that have meaning or make sense in more than one language (or at least are not awkward or odd in another language). This will give you one list.
For another direction, you might start with mythology, history and significant references from each culture. Words and names that have depth and meanings and which resonate with you.
A third list might simply be of names you love the sound and look of. These can come from any source. Childhood friends, TV characters, celebrities and just names you have heard or seen and just love.
Once you have your name buckets, it’s time to cross pollinate. Work through your lists and see which names are ticking more than one box. As the lists get shorter start matching them with you surname and check for phonetics. You can also start some of the micro checks for balance with siblings, shortened versions and disaster checking for any offending nick-name potential!
This is by no means a complete checklist, but it is a helpful framework to approach naming. What I have come to learn with child naming is that the best results come from combining creativity and inspiration with structure and process. It is channelling love and passion into a field of wonderful, but considered options. When approached correctly, naming is truly a joy.