Inappropriate Names for Children

The BBC news has reported that a New Zealand couple has named their child Superman. This was after their first attempt, 4Real, was rejected. It seems the couple was seriously impressed when they saw the baby on the ultrasound and the child became “for real”. That’s a sweet thought, I guess, but I’m not sure what Junior will think about that when he’s older.

Not too long ago I remember hearing that Nicolas Cage named his son Kal-El which is Superman’s birth name in the comics. So, there’s a Superman tribute from Hollywood. What kind of expectations do you feel when your name is Superman?

As I write this, I am about 16 1/2 weeks pregnant with our third child. We have chosen to name our two sons Hebrew names found in the Bible with meanings that we hope will reflect some portion of their character as they grow older. It may seem like a silly notion but we want our sons to be aware that we named them thinking of the life we hoped for them. We intend to name this baby in a similar fashion.

I believe names are important. As a young girl, I was always writing stories and I wanted my characters to have names that were significant in meaning. I would purchase baby name books from the store and research a name to give my character. I was always looking up the meanings of my friends’ names and informing them if they didn’t already know what their name meant. Yes, I’ve always been a dork.

It seems that Hollywood is always buzzing about some strange new baby name. Remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter Apple born a few years ago? But I have since heard some pretty crazy ones after that. Apple now does really seem like a sweet name. And she was named that by her parents who love her. Maybe names aren’t such a big deal after all.

Maybe Superman, who the parents say they will still call 4Real, will learn to love his name. Maybe he’ll have to work through some therapy first. Or maybe he and his friends will just come up with some new twist on his name and he’ll go by a self-given nickname for the rest of his life. Who knows? These poor parents are just happy to have their child and want to name him something that they felt when seeing his first little movements on that screen. Now they are being mocked and chastised. I’m not so convinced that they deserve it. At least not upon hearing about their intentions.

My husband once shared a baby name story with me from work. A coworker of his worked at a restaurant/bar and helped the other staff sing “Happy Birthday” to a patron. A family was celebrating the birthday of their twin girls. The parents had brought a cake with their names on it. When the man looked at the cake he noticed it was addressed to Lemon Juice and Orange Juice. Their parents proudly pronounced their names with a “French twist” – Leh-Mon Juh-weese and Oh-rawng Juh-weese. Amazing.

How far would you go in naming your child something unique?