Early in their marriage, Nathan Childs let his wife, Janette, know that he would love to name one of their future children Pez after his Pez collection.
With well more than 700 Pez dispensers in his growing collection, Janette knew it wasn’t a joke.
“I figured he would eventually get over it because that is a dumb thing to name someone,” Janette said.
However, after the birth of their son, and a little begging, Janette finally allowed the name Maxwell Pez Childs on their son’s birth certificate.
For Nathan, naming a child Pez was like passing on his own name. Famous among friends, family and associates for his collection, the Childs family became tied and associated with it.
“Pez is part of Nathan’s personality and part of his legacy,” Janette said. “It is part of who he is, fun loving, creative, unique and colorful.”
Finding a name that has special ties or meaning to a family is something author Jennifer Griffin believes is an important aspect in choosing a name for your child.
In “Bring Back Beatrice! 1,108 Baby Names with Meaning, Character, and a Little Bit of Attitude,” Griffin says that the book is a “clarion call to parents to break away from the pack when choosing a name for their child.”
Instead of choosing names that are currently en vogue, Griffin says that parents should be able to tell their child exactly why their name was chosen for them; why it is special; what it means; and what you hope it will bring to them.
That means if you’re thinking of naming your child Isabella or Edward because of the current popularity of the Twilight book series, you might want to think twice.
Although there are no official rules for naming a child, Griffin believes there should be.
One of the most common ways to choose a child’s name usually involves family connections.
“Is there a family connection? Your child will ask why you named him Vincent and you’ll be able to tell him that it was your grandfather’s middle name,” Griffin said. “You’ll give your child a tie to the past and will be able to regale him with stories about all the wonderful, witty, wise things your grandfather did and said.”
When Bryson and Tara Kearl of West Jordan named their son Jameson Brent, tying their son to members of his family was important. With many Jameses coming before him on both sides, the Kearls settled on Jameson.
“I think the family tie was important to me simply because I want him to feel a part of something bigger than him,” Bryson Kearl said. “I want him to feel like his family is a big part of who he is.”
The Kearls chose the name Brent because it was the name of Bryson Kearl’s childhood hero and neighbor who passed away in his teens.
“I think naming my son Brent is a way that I can honor him for having such a positive impact in my life,” Bryson Kearl said. “I am hoping that by carrying his name, it will somehow inspire him to emulate his namesake.
“When our kids ask us someday why we named them so-and-so, we don’t want to just say, ‘Oh, we just liked the name.’ ”
Among other “rules” that Griffin offers in her book is “The Flaky Test,” for those who might be considering unorthodox names or spellings.
“Plug your child’s name into a number of situations: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States ’” Griffin said. “Does that sound too flaky to be president? To be named Butterfly? Consider putting that as the middle name.”
Surgeon business card? Honorable judge? Will you eliminate the child’s choices for a career?
“If you want to be a showgirl in Vegas, you can pick whatever you want,” Griffin said.
Griffin notes current naming trends include: pop culture; unisex names; frankennames, or parts of two names mashed together; adding exotic letters, especially X, Y, Z, J, K, V and W, which almost guarantee a fashionable name; colonial graveyard names such as Lucy, Abigail, Sophia, Benjamin, Owen and Noah; and playing it safe with boys’ names and being more creative with girls. Griffin’s book offers popular names from the Social Security Administration, along with their meanings.
When it comes to naming children, Griffin hopes to help families make smart choices, avoid the “trendiness trap,” find names that reflect your values and prove that you can never go wrong with a traditional name.
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