With the birth of a new grandchild coming up in a few months the subject of names has come up again. I started to wonder if the name given to a child makes them more likely to develop certain characteristics.
I’m sure Mum had most say in naming us and I was registered, “Rosemary Sue” but to Dad that was too fancy and I was always called, “Sue”. I wasn’t Suzanne, Suzanna or Susan, just Sue and I was used to that. When I went to a private secondary school Mum convinced me to let them all think I used my first name. It never sat well with me and as soon as I left school I always introduced myself as “Sue”. I’m not someone who likes to stand out, I don’t like parties and big celebrations much preferring smaller family get togethers. If I’d been called “Rosemary” all my life would I have been different? Would I have seen myself as someone much more complex and interesting? If I’d chosen my own name it would probably have been something like “Josie “ or Rebecca” to me they’re nice to say, they have a bit of mystery to them, I wouldn’t have been one of six in a class but nor would I have been constantly explaining my name or spelling it out for people.
My own children seem to suit their names perfectly and because the names have been around for hundreds of years people can’t tell their ages just by hearing their names. When I hear the names “Summer, Rainbow and River” I always think they’re children of 1970s “Flower Power” parents. Some children are lumbered with names from TV series and others share names with offspring of famous parents. I think it’s lucky for baby girls that no-one famous has decided Gertrude, Ethel, Myrtle or Gladys are the way to go.
Now, back to my original point. If my next grandchild is named Sebastian or Clementine will they be flamboyant, spirited and artistic? Would a Bruce or Sam be down to earth, thoughtful and athletic? Stephen or Alice, would they be a good communicator, self assured and academic?
Choosing a name is such an important task for new parents, names come ready loaded with associations and expectations. I guess that’s why some people prefer their nicknames.