Editorial: What's in a name?

By Kim Gillespie

Every year around this time The Daily Post reveals the most popular baby names of the previous 12 months.

While each year the lists of boys' and girls' names appears relatively conservative _ Olivia and Jack were tops in 2012 _ the topic sparks a lot of discussion about some of the more creative monikers parents are bestowing on their offspring.

A simple note on our Facebook page asking readers what names they'd heard for babies in 2012 prompted a flood of responses _ some cute, some interesting, some downright scary (though I'd have to believe those posts were made up).

It's worth reminding ourselves that behind some of these strange and/or wonderful names are little people, who will grow into schoolkids, teenagers and adults.

Maybe some new mums and dads will remember A Boy Named Sue, a song made popular by Johnny Cash. Sue promises revenge on a father who did nothing for him bar naming him Sue before abandoning him at a young age to a life of ridicule and harrassment. Sue subsequently grew up tough and upon finding his father and confronting him found out his dad gave him the name to ensure he grew up strong in his absence.

I'm not sure anyone who named their baby in the past year would have had the same motivation as Sue's dad, but you do have to wonder how much they've thought about how their creatively named kid will handle the slings and arrows of outrageous forename.

Some have had second thoughts. A recent news story reported that in the past year parents of 762 children spent $51 to change their names legally before their second birthday.

I'm guessing those names weren't as bad as these ones rejected by Internal Affairs in recent years: V8, Mafia No Fear, Anal, I, II, III, *. and /.

A girl named Blaer in Iceland has a different problem. She's suing the state to be able to keep her name, which means light breeze. Good luck finding a unique name for your newborn in Iceland, where there is a list of approved names to choose from. Officials say the register will protect children from embarrassment.

I'd like to think that's part of the parents' brief, but it's clear many parents aren't that worried about it.

Yes, some want unique names for their babies. Others are happy to choose traditional or family names with meaning. Either way, having labelled your kid for life, how about mums and dads concentrate on growing a human being who will stand out, make a difference and be loved for who they are, not for what they're called.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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