What’s in a name?

Fair warning:  If you aren’t interested in baby names, relationships, or my life in general, you probably won’t find this interesting.

When was between the ages of 10 and 13, one of my favorite teachers had a child.  He and his wife named the child Kyle.

Being extremely young, the first thing I thought was “did he name his baby after me?”

I wasn’t really sure what to make of the naming, so I asked my parents, both of whom were also teachers and knew the teacher in question outside of the classroom, at least on a different level than I did.  They explained to me that there were likely other reasons that they had chosen the name Kyle, but then they said something I’ve never forgotten.

“When we were choosing your name, we ruled out a number of names that we liked on some degree, but also reminded us of someone, in some cases a student, that we’d had a bad experience with.  They may not have named their son after you, but they wouldn’t have chosen that name if they didn’t think highly of you.  Parents choose names that bring happy thoughts.”

I’m paraphrasing horribly, but that was the general idea.

Fast forward 20+ years.  Keri and I are now choosing the name of our first daughter.  We have probably considered a hundred different names, but as we draw closer to her arrival, and start to narrow down the field, may parents’ words resonate.  The names that have made the final cut all have multiple connection to our lives.  They are names of people we have encountered in our 30+ years, and those people have made our lives better, not worse.

When our daughter arrives, friends and family will learn her name, and a small number will realize that our daughters name is their own name, or some derivation of it.  While we may not be naming her after anyone specific (or we might be doing just that), I hope the people who share her name will realize that who they are as humans has shaped the emotional ties we have to the name, even if in some cases we may not realize it.  We may never say these words out loud, but your spirit is reflected in our choice.

I don’t know who specifically this will apply to at this point, but I wanted to express my gratitude for the impact you’ve made on the lives of Keri and I.  We wouldn’t have chosen the name if we didn’t think highly of you. 🙂


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