A Little Creativity in an Old Process
By Jake Rose
Naming your child is never an easy process. Not only is there pressure from your family and friends, but society will also help accept or disprove of the child's name very quickly. There are so many possibilities and options, like naming it after a loved one, or famous person, or literary icon, etc. But hopefully, above all, there is one thing you will be with the name: creative. Sure a lot of the common names are nice, and you shouldn't have to look them over just because they are common, but keep in mind there is much more out there than just what you may be familiar with.
First and foremost you have to think about how it will affect the child. Let's face the facts about this. Your name is one of the first impressions you will have on another person. It may seem that it's just a word or two, but it can give potential acquaintances and more a look at your family history, culture and upbringings, and tell them just how you might stand in the world.
Therefore you want a name for your child that will stick out in a good way from others. Sure you can't tell how your child will turn out, what personality and likes they will have, or even if they will like their own name, but you can know how good the name sounds and how people react to it beforehand. You want to find a name that will get them the kind of reaction you think they deserve. Any parent that would want people to react badly to the name shouldn't be a parent, so let's only consider the positive reactions.
As a baby, you will probably want people to think "that's a pretty name for a girl or "that's a cute name for a boy. These are great reactions to have, as they not only tell you that you chose wisely but also that they already are becoming a bit affectionate towards your child. Of course you have to consider what the reactions will be when the child grows up. You want a name that will not get them insulted or picked on by peers in school. You want a name that will make people take them serious in work.
You could go with a classic, simple, overused name that you already know will work, but why? Why make your child one out of ten Rachel's or Matt's or anything like that when you already have a good chance knowing they won't be the only one with the name? I can tell you from firsthand experience it can be dull have a very common name. My name is Jacob. It is the most popular male's name since 1999. Sure it is a nice sounding name and I was named before it was this popular, but it can still make me feel like just one person in a crowd when I notice that there are many other guys named that in my school classes or work.
Think of something new. This can be done in many different ways. First, the most simplest, is just finding new ways to spell the name. Sure pronunciation-wise there is nothing new or creative about it, but if the name already means that much to you even though it may be common, you shouldn't have to at least consider it. Give it a chance and revive it a little for the next generation.
You can also adapt and play with familiar names. Add onto them, combine them, subtract from them. There are so many possibilities. Just keep in mind you want something that will have a positive effect when people hear and read it. Don't make it too long or too strange. This is also important when you choose a new word to become a name. You want something that could pass for a name, not something that just sounds different. Whether it is in your native language or in some other language you enjoy, using common and even uncommon words for names is a great thing. You could make something new yet familiar to people when they hear it. Maybe its not so familiar or even quite rare, yet has a nice meaning and flow to it.
There is also the opportunity to completely make up the name. Start from scratch, create something truly unique, entertaining, inspiring, positive for your child. You can give them a strong foundation to create who they are. This is not an easy task of course and can be very confusing where to go, but try to at least come up with something on your own. Start with letters you like and syllables that sound good. Even if the name or names you come up with isn't used, it may help you realize other names that you enjoy and would like to give to your child.
Lastly, don't be afraid to pitch your name ideas to others. Feedback before the name is confirmed will give you the truth. Most people may not want to insult the child's name once they are born. It's a very serious process when you consider all the effects it could have on your child. Hopefully you can make it a fun and creative one too!