Shakespeare asked in "Romeo and Juliet," "What's in a name?" Do you know what's in your name, where it actually comes from or what significance it has on your family tree? Finding out can be both fun and educational for the whole family.
Explore the meaning of your name
Names often come from other cultures, with Greek, Latin, Gaelic or African origins. Andrew, for example, means "manly" in Greek. Linda means "pretty" in Spanish.
Names like Adam, Sarah, Matthew, Rebecca and Jacob have historical or biblical influences. You can easily find them listed in an encyclopedia or even some dictionaries.
You may be surprised by what your research reveals. Susan, for example, comes from both the Greek "Susanna," meaning "lily," and the Hebrew "Shoshana," meaning "rose."
Take it a step further by seeing what your name would be in other languages. The name "John" is Juan in Spanish, Johann in German, Jean in French and Ivan in Russian.
A personalized poster
Get out your art supplies and make name posters with your children to hang on their bedroom doors. Print each name in bold letters at the top of a large sheet of poster board or paper. Use pictures or drawings to illustrate and explain each name's unique meaning or derivation. If your child became fascinated with any interesting story, particularly if the name is rooted in your own family's history, you might want to add photos of ancestors, flags, etc.
Naming people and things
Share with your children the names you considered before they were born. Kids especially like to hear what their name would be if they had been born the opposite sex. Then have fun talking about the times your children have named something special to them, such as a teddy bear, doll or their pet goldfish or hamster.