Monday, 9 January 2012

What On Earth Did You Call Me?

There are many things that I am grateful for to my parents. Among the things that I am thankful for is what they decided to call me. Peter is not a bad name to call a child. However, in my life time I have come across people whose names have left me rather perplexed. The names must I say the least are unique. If I were them I would have considered suing my parents. As my generation begins to pop out the babies, it is important to take a critical thought at what names you will give your kids.

The naming of the child may be taken as a trivial matter and not necessarily given much consideration. To the parents naming their child the name proposed may sound unique and even funny but the consequences on the child can last for a life time. Some children are named out of the circumstances that were going at the time of their birth. For example people from Eastern Province will name their children names such as Misozi, Mabvuto or Masuzyo if during that period there was grief or problems. I do understand the logic around the naming the child under the circumstance, however, I think it is unfair on them. It is a constant reminder of the problems and tears that were there. Everyone wants to forget the hurtful past and having a child named after the unfortunate situation is rather unfair. I have known people with such names and every time they experience a problem or situation they find blame in what they were named. They believe that what they were called is more like a curse or a bad omen even though it may not directly have a direct relation.

Then there are those parents who name their children with adjectives. This is perhaps in a hope that the name will be self fulfilling. In no offense, I have heard people called Intelligent, Clever, Beautiful, Pretty and many others. It often happens that the child does not turn up to be so intelligent or does not resemble the face that sailed a thousand ships. Now let me warn parents against giving children such names. It is an unnecessary pressure on the child to live up to the name. Imagine a child called Intelligent and he is always bottom of the class. It is a known fact that there is bullying and mockery in schools. Giving a child a strange name is only setting up your child as bait for bullying and mockery. They would have their friends making fun of their names and coming up with ways to make them the joke of the class. This in my opinion is torture on the child that could have been avoided. According to research done by Pelham and et al at the State University of New York, he states that children with unique or funny names tend to develop self esteem issues. They are often embarrassed about their names and usually do not feel comfortable. This then often leads to poor performance in school. I have friends who have changed their names at school. When I visit them at home and call them by their new names, I am told that they do not stay there. This was clear proof that they are not proud of their names.

David Figlio of the National Bureau of Economic Research carried out a research on names. His findings were that people tend to develop perceptions based on names. He studied the school system in Florida where he found that teachers developed perceptions on pupils based on their names. He found that individuals who had strange names, teachers developed perceptions that they were less likely to be good in mathematics and science. Children with strange names were unlikely to be recommended for the gifted classes.

In African culture we have a tendency of naming children after someone, an aunt, uncle, grandfather or grandmother. Now this might be a good way of honouring someone or remembering someone close at heart. However, I have made a general observation regarding such a trend. The child tends to develop some characteristics of the person they are named after. I personally am named after my father’s father and my mother’s uncle. Both individuals were enterprising. Lo and behold, I also do have that enterprising knack in my bones, coincidence maybe. I have also noticed a child named after someone with a short temper and you wonder why your child has a short fuse.

Naming a child may seem like a very funny process. It may sound unique on a baby, but bear in mind that the baby is going to grow. It is the child who has to walk ground and introducing themselves by that name. Therefore, in case you have names that are out of this world, name something else maybe a shop or a pet but please not your child. I am sure that you may spare them a lot of ridicule, self esteem issues by being considerate.

No comments:

Post a Comment