Kids’ Names

Sistine MadonnaI love cool names, and the thought of bestowing some on children of my own has always excited me. Considering how many steps I still need to take to become a father, maybe it’s not such a good idea to think so much about the end result, but sometimes I can’t help it. Writers have it easy, of course. We can always just write a story around a character name that strikes our fancy. But this week I’ve specifically been thinking about the names I’d like to give to my real, live children (if I have any someday), and I thought it’d make sense to set some of those ideas down. And why not publish them on the internet while I’m at it? Some of my siblings are likely to become parents before too long, and I wouldn’t mind at all if they stole some of my ideas. The whole point is to put beautiful and inspiring names out there into the world, no matter who’s doing it.

Needless to say, the following lists aren’t final. If I were picking names for ten kids today, these are the five girls’ and boys’ names I’d go with, as well as nine other names each that would be seriously considered. As I pored over exhaustive lists online, I noticed (as I’m sure many have) a discrepancy between girls’ and boys’ names when it comes to beauty. My daughter might get named after a mythological being, but my son is more likely to be named after a cartoon character. That’s a couple thousand years of Western civilization for you, I suppose. In short, coming up with fourteen female names I liked was a breeze; most of the male names just sounded good enough.

There are lots of factors to consider. I wanted names that were neither too common nor too rare. Older names appeal to me; I like the idea of preserving long strands of history. As a Christian, I feel like biblical names are expected of me, but I mostly shied away from them because they’re so common in the circles I frequent. Mythology and literature, on the other hand, hold countless interesting possibilities. Pop culture, I must confess, is also a factor. Even an old name with an interesting meaning behind it can be rendered unusable if it carries distracting cultural associations. (I eliminated Kermit from contention at the last minute for this very reason. I told you the boys’ names were tougher.) On the other hand, if a name that’s already good happens to connect with one or two or three movies I love, so much the better. When my kids are old enough, nothing would please me more than to be able to tell them about all of the many ways their names are meaningful to me.

So here they are, complete with etymologies, relevant facts and some noteworthy bearers (real and fictional). I hope the reader agrees that these names rock. On the other hand, keeping them for myself would also be cool.

Girls

Esmeralda

Lorelei

  • Old German for “murmuring rock,” referring to a rock on the bank of the Rhine
  • Used by Heinrich Heine in his poem Die Lorelei (1824) as the name of a siren character
  • Can be shortened to “Lori”
  • Lorelei Lee
  • Lorelei of the Elite Four

Magnolia

Roxanne

Sonya

Alternate contenders: Aurora, Diana, Esther, Madeleine, Michelle, Pamela, Rosalind, Selina, Ursula

MagnoliaBoys

Arthur

Dante

Felix

Jerome

Raphael

Alternate contenders: Calvin, Griffin, Isaac, Jason, Marshall, Miles, Rupert, Scott, Tyrone

Additionally, there are a great many androgynous names out there in the world, and some of them are very popular. At this point, I’m thinking I’d save those for my children’s middle names. Don’t hold me to that, though; the middle name opens up boundless possibilities for experimentation. But here are fourteen potential choices:

  • Ariel
  • Bailey
  • Blair
  • Dakota
  • Dylan
  • Keaton
  • Kelly
  • Leigh
  • Madison
  • Morgan
  • Pavan
  • Regan
  • Shannon
  • Taylor

There you have it. A diverse group. I hope this little blog post serves as a reminder that naming another human being is an awesome privilege, something that deserves careful consideration. Five years from now, I might consider some of the choices above to be inappropriate for my own kids. But if that happens, I can always give one of these names to my next cat.

2 responses to “Kids’ Names

  1. Realizing that a time may come that Shannon and I will have to assign a name to a child, one important factor to consider is that you may not see eye to eye with someone that has equal rights in the naming biz. While I think “Wendy” is a fine name for a girl, my wife thinks “Jacqueline” will do just as well.

  2. Definitely. This post is entirely speculative, seeing as my future wife would probably want to have some choice in the matter. She might even be better at coming up with good names than me. But at least now I can say, “Oh yeah? Well I’ve got a BLOG! Who’s the smart one now?”

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