Friday, May 30, 2008

How big a deal is a name?

For those who invest much effort into choosing a name for their child, Indiana Jones may serve as a warning as they agonise over a patron saint, cast horoscopes or analyse the number of brush strokes required.

Us? Keen to embrace the great corporate trend of our time, we had outsourced. A committee comprising Pa's mother and Mum's aunt offered up candidates - and we quickly settled on one with decent symbolic heft (to translate from the Chinese, it means 'heaven's blessing') and a certain musicality to the ear.

Good enough, we felt, but you may disagree. Feeding Sonny, moulding his character and all that jazz may seem like a big deal today, you concede. But a few decades on, it might well be the name we gift him, and which he bears, that is the most tangible mark of our devotion.

But, as we were saying, don't forget Indiana Jones. Referring, in case you've been living under a rock, to the fictional swashbuckling archaeologist who has featured in four movies - with the most recent, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, currently playing in cinemas. Jones (played with deadpan elan by Harrison Ford) was named Henry, after his father - but preferred to annex the moniker assigned to the family dog. Indiana.

Skipping nimbly over the vast potential for over-psychologising here, the bald point is obvious: Children don't necessarily hold on to the names selected for them. They might go the official route by deed poll, or they may just adopt alternate first names for everyday use. Perhaps on a whim, or out of religious fervour - it hardly matters. Parents might simply be best off not getting too hung up on the name of their dreams.

Eventually, the child gets to cast a deciding vote. Or veto.

1 Comment:

Peter said...

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