How Important is Your Name?

April 22, 2015

Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But is that really true?

From your earliest days, your name can bring you acceptance or you can be the target of teasing and bullying. It can be very traumatic because all children want to fit in and a name that’s very unusual or offensive can blight a child’s future.

Take the case of the parents who gave Nazi names to all their children. They may not have considered that the names Adolf Hitler and Aryan Nation would cause their children irreparable psychological trauma, although I really can’t imagine any parent not being aware of the potential damage they were causing.

This case came to light a couple of years ago when a grocery store refused to decorate a birthday cake for their son Adolf Hitler’s third birthday. The end result was that they lost custody of all their children.

The parents said they lost the custody fight because of the names and because their house was decorated with Nazi swastikas and other German memorabilia and that the father has a swastika tattoo on his neck.

The court said there was evidence of neglect and abuse of the children and that’s why their children were taken away and that it had nothing to do with their names.

There have been other newborns who bear the kind of names that will surely make them targets for abuse most of their lives. There have been a couple of boys named Superman. Hopefully, those children won’t be skinny wusses and can defend themselves in fights as they get older.

Names such as Arsenal, Dickdastardly, Number 16 Bus Shelter, and Violence have been allowed in some countries but Lucifer, V8, Christ, and Messiah are among the baby names that have been rejected in other countries.

In New Zealand, Family Court Judge, Rob Murfitt, in ruling on the name change for Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii, said, “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap.” He also warned parents that giving a child a bizarre name could lead to psychological trauma for it in later life.

I’m inclined to agree with the judge. I also think it’s cruel to saddle your children with the kind of name that will cause him to be the object of ridicule and hate.

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