What’s In A Name — Part 2

11 Feb

For those of you who know me well, you know that I have strong feelings about names. Such a simple but incredibly powerful noun. The word “name” is literally defined: by what a person, place, or thing is known. Think about that — people that know you, they know you by your name! Maybe I take it too far or maybe I don’t take it far enough. Either way I take immense pride and responsibility in naming a child.

Have you ever been introduces to someone and while shaking their hand thought, “wow… their parents must have hated them!”. There was one kid that grew up in the same town as I did that was just about a half of a fry short of a happy meal. His parent’s must have been a full kid’s toy short because they let this dude name their second son… and consequently that is how they ended up with Spyder. I am sorry but there is nothing about that name that is appealing. I don’t know if you could say that it was his parent’s who hated him, but he probably didn’t appreciate his older brother!

When I start to think of naming our second son I have to fast-forward and think about what he is going to do, where he is going to be, what he is going to conquer. That’s a tall task.. How do you foresee something that hasn’t happened, especially when you are just male, middle-class, and white (i.e. I have no special powers)? It is impossible! But you have to try. Because without having an idea of the person they could be you can’t begin to hang a name on them. Will they be an actor or a writer? A CEO? A professional athlete? Will they be an innovator, an inventor, or will they be a couch potato. Will they be someone that others look up to and follow, or will they be comfortable following the lead? All of these things factor into picking out a name.

Anyone that has been reading along on our adventures knows that I went through a similar inner struggle over two years ago with naming our first son, whom we named Nolan Wayne. For me — being an engineer — one of the biggest things I keyed on was initials. For whatever reason engineers often sign off on things with their 3-letter initials. It is one of the things that is ingrained into you during the mindless hours of homework and for some reason it has stuck with me. My initials are jad, and my reply in business email reflects it. That has only twice led to confusion — with the same accountant who is dead-set that my name is actually just “jad” and probably thinks to himself when he is communicating with me, “wow… his parents must have hated him!”. At the end of the day, the initials and the way they looked together were a big selling point for me when we named Nolan. Of course I wanted it to be strong and have good meaning as well, but the way nwd looked on paper just pleased my eye.

I was recently reminded by my dad while we were tossing around names for Baby #2 that there were a Pickle Jar created specific rule set for naming a child, and that I should revisit these before naming him. How could I forget? Let’s take a gander at the rules for child naming one more time:

A) Don’t let him end lunch period bottom-side up in a trash can.  There is nothing that you could do worse to your child then give him/her a name that will cause them to end up in a trash can without any lunch money. For whatever reason, celebrities completely disregard this message and I’m just telling you that it is a good thing my kid and their kid won’t end up going to school together. Because my kid would probably be the smart-alec saying, “Hey Suri, what’s the quickest route to Taco Bell? Hey Suri, what’s the weather gonna be like today? Hey Suri..” you get the picture. Tom Cruise — you were awesome in Top Gun but you went off the deep end when you named that kid. Wow.

B) It has to sound good coming from an announcer’s microphone. Look, I get it. Athletic jeans genes don’t really run thick in our DNA. But I am sure this little guy will at least test the fame reserved for Friday nights and no kid deserves to hear muffled laughter when “Johnny Johnson!” or “Vladimir Putilini!” comes across the loudspeaker. Say the name out loud a few times and make sure it is not a tongue twister or just plain stupid. Please. Because I have very little shame and less compassion and I’ll laugh.

C) What’s it mean? This one is easy. If your child’s name means “lily of the valley”… they probably aren’t going to be a smash-mouth running back. Editor’s note: I just re-read my first What’s in a Name post from over 2 years ago and the example I used was “flower of the valley”… sooooooo… apparently I have a thing against people named after flowers.  At some point your child will (or should!) take some pride in what their name means. Make it meaningful.

D) How do the initials look on engineering paper? I’ve already went over this rule extensively. Sorry I’m not sorry.

E) Be proud of it. This is probably the most important rule. Listen, if you aren’t proud of the name you gave your child then how in the world would you expect them to be proud of it?! There should be meaning and thought that went into why you gave them that name, and they should know that! I also don’t see the meanings of names as always being literal, but more figurative. I want them to be able to take strength in why they were named that and what their name means.

So with all of the rules for naming a child thoroughly reviewed, here is the name for the second born Dill boy: introducing….. Trevor Aaron!
As I stand being both judge and jury — I rule this a solid name selection. But for all of you crying foul here are a few validating reasons:

  • Trevor means “wise” in Celtic. Nolan means “noble” in Celtic. Now there is a pretty good chance that they will neither be wise nor noble… but their names at least have significant and cool meanings. Win!
  • t-a-d are some grade A+ initials. First of all they lend easily to a nickname — tad — which I already use to refer to him at times. But they also just have a quick and crisp look on engineering paper. Duh.
  • Aaron is my middle name, and I am beyond proud to be able to pass it on to my son. It now holds even more importance in my eyes, as years from now I hope he holds that name in high regard as part of the example I was for him. The worst thing I could do would be to make him ashamed of that name and it’s association to me because of my actions. The weight now shifts back onto my shoulders…. not that it really ever left, right?

I think we can all agree that this name holds up to all the criteria. And that’s what is in a name.

Nolan & Mama... This picture has become an all-time favorite..

Nolan & Mama… This picture has become an all-time favorite.

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