What’s in a name?

A lot of people know what their name means – especially their first name.  But have you ever sat back for a minute and thought about whether your name reflects any part of who you are?  Your personality, your traits, your vices, your strengths – anything?  It would be an act of faith to do so, since it should be impossible to name a person based on who they will become – however you choose to look at this, know that I’ve spent a few minutes thinking about this.

If you’ve read one of my previous posts, you know we are expecting our 3rd baby – Peanut (as it is currently called) is expected to join us on December 24th.

Speaking of Peanut – according to my wife, who I gladly admit is right virtually all of the time, this name just won’t do.  Our other kids are named Abigail and Amalie.  So far, we agreed on names – I was allowed to pick Abigail’s names, and my wife picked Amalie’s names and we agreed on both.  I never placed value on what a name meant until I had my own kids.  I’m not sure why it matters – does it?  Well, for some reason, it did to me.  I know it’s unlikely that a person is going to be judged on what their name actually means, so I’m not really sure why it matters to me at all.  Unless it DOES reflect who a person is and who they might become some day.

For the record, our kids’ names break down like this, depending on what translation/source you use, of course:

Abigail Nicola Faithe means:  Abigail -a father’s joy; Nicola – victory of the people (say what?);  Faithe – obvious.

Amalie Neylan Joy means:  Amalie – hard worker or work of the Lord; Neylan – fulfilled wish or fulfilled promise; Joy – obvious.

Our last name, in its current form, means either “staying in one place” or “a person who remains a resident of the place or region of his birth” – both in Latin.  As far as any other meanings or translations, etc – I’m not aware of them, but would be fascinated to find out more.

So, where am I going with this name business?  My wife and I, and hopefully our kids with slightly less weight in their votes, have to come up with a name for Peanut.  I respect people’s choices and don’t like criticizing parents for names they choose for their children.  Thankfully we’re able to do this unimpeded by law or religion, and so it’s up to us – no traditions, no barriers, nothing stopping us from naming our kids whatever we want.  We’re not big on names that are way out in left field (Buffalo?), nor are we big on names that are trendy.  Ironically, after I chose Abigail’s name, I found out months afterwards that it was one of the most popular names for girls that year.  Of course, if the right name comes up, I can be flexible.

We each have some ideas (Abigail is insisting on a brother and wants to call him Dexter – so fitting!  Amalie wants to call it Umbrella or Dora), but for the first time, we’re not coming to an easy consensus like we did on the other two kids.  We don’t know what sex our baby is, and I don’t know if we’ll find out – personally, as long as the baby and its mom are healthy,  I don’t care what it is.  What I do care about is that we choose a good name for the child.  Obviously I don’t want to pick something that will be cause for concern down the road – I don’t want my kid taking until Grade 3 to learn how to spell their ridiculous name, nor do I want something that rhymes with dick or ass or whatever.  But how much time should I spend paying attention to the actual meaning of the names we choose?  I know it sounds ridiculous, but what if???

As far as my name goes, my first name means “twin” (I know this is Biblical in origin) and my middle name means “great”.  Interesting point here – and again, an enormous leap of faith if you even want to consider the ramifications of something like this, but I ended up marrying a twin.  And it goes without saying that I’m great.  So – do our names have the potential to become self-fulfilling?  As mentioned already, it’s an act of faith to even consider this, but I consider most facets of life an act of faith in one way or another so for me, this isn’t really a stretch.

Taking this possibility into consideration, I’ve decided that I won’t take chances by choosing the wrong name and possibly cursing my child in the future – and so I’m left with an easy decision when it comes to my next child’s name.  In writing this and boiling down what’s important to me, it has suddenly become crystal clear what my child’s name shall be:

Folant  Atuf  Radhi  Alaka’i  Edsel  Amogha  Faleen  Hadithi  Sattwiki  Manawale’a

Translated, my child will be named: healthy and strong; kind-hearted and loving; content; leader; wealthy and noble; fruitful; productive; legendary and mythical; well-endowed; generous and good.

I can’t believe I wasted so much time thinking about this when the answer was right there in front of me. I think this kid will be set up for success from the get-go.

So tell me – what’s in a name?

By the way, if you’re interested – those names, in terms of origin, and their definitions, are as follows:

Folant – Latin – strong, healthy

Atuf – Arabic – kind-hearted, loving

Radhi – Swahili – content

Alaka’i – Hawaiian – leader

Edsel – Germanic – wealthy, noble

Amogha – Sanskrit – fruitful

Faleen – Indian – productive

Hadithi – Swahili – legendary, mythical

Sattwika – Sanskrit – well-endowed

Manawale’a – Hawaiian – generous, good

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