Do names contain hidden meanings? And can a name ultimately affect your child’s future school, job or partner, or any part of their lives, for that matter? Studies have shown that people are indeed judged on their names. If you are about to name you baby, think very carefully about how you would like them to be judged by random people.
A lot of thought goes into choosing a baby’s name, needless to say. But have you thought about how it will affect their futures? Possibly not. The usual thoughts include whether it suits their look (even though you don’t quite know what they look like when choosing a name); whether their name or names will suit their surname and the names of the rest of the family; can their names be abbreviated; or will their names educe bullying? These are all questions parents might of when they are choosing baby names. Another question that should be added to the list is how your baby’s name will affect their future.
The history of naming
There has been a belief in many cultures that a person’s name determines their destiny. In many other cultures, however, names are purely a means of distinguishing between people, and are generally chosen on how nice they sound. However, the naming of a baby is extremely powerful in many religions and cultures.
Ashkenazic Jews believe that a person’s name protrudes their souls, which in turn affects their entire lives. Ashkenazic Jews also do not believe in naming their babies after elders or relatives, as name sharing between two living souls will shorten the older person’s life.
The Bible places a lot of importance on a person’s name. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” States the book of Proverbs, 22:1. Many biblical names have both spiritual and literal meanings, and many believe that the spiritual power of a name is carried into a child.
How does a name affect a life?
Many experts believe that your name influences the way people perceive and judge you, which in turn affects how you are treated throughout life. Simple example: you won’t give your baby boy a girl like Michelle, will you? No, you won’t, because you know that Michelle is generally a girl’s name, and you also know that your child might be teased during his school years for possibly being homosexual, or simply just because he has a ‘girly name’. The same applies to the above: names determine how people perceive you without even having to meet you. Here, are examples of how names could affect a baby’s later life:
- Studies have found that people with unattractive or undesirable names tended to be withdrawn in both their social lives and careers.
- Unusual names, like Clarence, might cause continuous teasing and ultimately a low self-image and no self-confidence. Also, boys with strange first names may display more emotional problems than boys with popular or traditional names.
- Names like “Michael” and “Alexander” are empowering and cause people to respond with a certain degree of respect, which could ensure a positive future for your baby.
Yes, people are sceptical on whether a baby’s name will affect their future. Some people genuinely don’t care and tend to go with popularity or sound, or even uniqueness. In the Afrikaans culture, it has become increasingly popular to give children English names. Popular boy names include Jaiden, Riley, Aiden and Matt. Popular girl names being given are Bella, Amy, and the ever popular –Lee. However, English boy names seem to be the most popular.
The sense of personal identity and uniqueness that a name gives us is why we try to give our babies the best names possible, sometimes giving them the worst name in the process. Names are valuable to us and to our society as a whole, and parents should give due thought to the process of naming a baby before making the decision.