Stop Giving Your Children Common Names
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Stop Giving Your Children Common Names

All anyone is going to think is, “Great, another kid named John to keep straight."

Stop Giving Your Children Common Names

My name is Rachel, and I really do like my name. It’s Biblical, as Rachel was Jacob’s favorite wife and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. However, it was the 13th most popular name the year I was born, which means there are A LOT of Rachel’s.

I go to a Christian university, which means a huge percentage of people have common Biblical names. I went to public school growing up and there were always a bunch of kids with the same name there too. Matthew, Samantha, Sarah, Caleb, John, Hannah, and more are names that have been on repeat my whole life.

I’m here begging you to stop. Please give your children a unique name. That’s not to say go crazy hipster or spell common names all sorts of different way. Just pick something beautiful and special for your child. There are plenty of book characters, historical figures, and neat places around the world for you to name your child after.

Instead of Brittany (a region in the north west of France), how about Rochelle, a historic port city? If you’re a stickler for Christian names look up information about saints or important obscure Biblical characters. Rahab, Boaz, Mordecai, and Priscilla are all great Biblical names that I never hear. Zita is the patron saint of servanthood, which would be great to pass on to children. Ephrem is the patron saint of spiritual directors and spiritual leaders.

Check out baby naming websites where you can search names by origin and meaning. The name ‘Taylor’ might be popular, but it doesn’t have a great meaning: one who tailors clothing. However the name ‘Anastasia’ means resurrection and is much less common.

I know a lot of common names like Rebekah, John, etc also have beautiful meanings. However they have become so normal in our society that no one thinks about the meanings anymore. No one is going to think, “Oh, their son’s name is John, that means ‘God is gracious’ how nice.” All anyone is going to think is, “Great, another kid named John to keep straight. We’ll have to remember his last name so we can differentiate him from all the other John’s in the world.”

Your child is going to have this name the rest of their life. Do your homework. Look up the Social Security Administration’s popular baby name list. You can go all the way back to the 1800’s and be able to tell what names have been too common for too long. It might also give you some ideas for some old names that deserve to be resurrected, like Viola or Jesse.

Ask about important family names. They might not be trendy but they will have tradition in them, which is more personal and helps develop a connection between that child and the generations of their ancestors.

I have a friend who’s mother combined her two best friends names to get hers. It’s unique and when I mention her to others, everyone knows who I’m talking about. It was a great way for her mother to pay tribute to her friends. Consider doing likewise if you have people you look up to in life.

Book characters, historical figures, and interesting places around the world are a way I previously mentioned of getting good names. Digory from the Chronicles of Narnia, Coretta for Coretta Scott King (wife of MLK Jr) or Petra for the Jordanian wonder of the world are all unique names that hold special meaning. If you and your spouse met or travelled to a city with a unique name, fell in love with the same book, or both look up to a figure in history consider giving your child that special name.

I hope this article will inspire you to look beyond the common everyday and help you pick unique, special names for your children (even if you aren’t planning on having any for awhile).

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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