This was my first Tuesday Topic, and I have to say, you all were great! Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit your thoughts.
Here was the question:
I’d love to hear more about naming your kids?? We’re trying to decide that right now. We’re thinking about new American first names and their ET names for middle. Mostly because, thinking of the future, the boys name on a resume might be hard. Thought an easily pronounced american name would be better. SO, you don’t call your boys their American names? Is that their choice, or yours? We’re also thinking of doing the same for our daughter, so she won’t think, “why did he get a new name, and not me?” Oh the decisions!!
Thanks for any pointers & viewpoints!
There were lots of great answers, so this will be long, but here we go.
We had American names all picked out for our two from Ethiopia. Both of their Ethiopian names were quite hard to pronounce and would become their middle names. I felt uneasy about changing their names since they were older, but we had seen other families do this…and so we followed. However, when we got to Ethiopia and met them…something about it didn’t seem right. They were who they were already. That’s who they would always be. And to strip them of their name felt incredible wrong. Names are such important parts of our identity and self awareness, I think. Anyway, we wondered how it would be on the first day of school, etc etc. You know what? It’s been FINE. Both have chosen to shorten their names into something easier for others. But, now when I think about those American names (now their middle names), I realize that is NOT who they are…and I feel like in our situation it would have been a mistake to insist that they become that name. In this day and age there are so many unique and unfamiliar names. And kids learn each others names. It’s just how life is. They have not been teased at all. Does that make any sense? This has been our story. CR
And in the Comments:
Given the length of this post, I will refrain from taking up more space with my thoughts on naming children, but you can read my post from April 2008 to see how we came to our decisions. I feel strongly that each family has to choose for themselves what is best for their particular child. There are names from other countries that are closely related to unpleasant words in our language. I didn’t face that, so I can’t know for certain how I would have handled it. Changing the spelling, as CR mentioned, is a great idea if you want to preserve the name.
I do wonder if Little Man may choose to use his American name one day. His Ethiopian name is difficult for people to pronounce and remember, but once they have it, it is easy. I think we’ll leave that for him to decide. I love both his American and Ethiopian names, and no matter what he chooses, I believe I will always call him by his Ethiopian name.
If you have a question you would like me to present as a Tuesday Topic, please email it to me at:
thankulmom [at] gmail [dot] com
Thank you everyone!