Friday, July 05, 2013

On names

I try very hard not to judge people by their name. I have met plenty of lovely people - children and adults - with unusual names, and if I had been so narrow minded as to try to prevent my offspring from associating with other children on the basis of their given names, both my kids would have lost out in a big way.

So I'm certainly with those who disagreed with the comments Z-list celeb Katie Hopkins made on "This morning" the other day about how she would not let her children play with other children who had certain first names.

I do however, in the privacy of my own mind, judge parents who give their children names which will be a burden to them. Whether we like it or not, our children will meet, submit job applications to, and be judged by people who, sometimes without consciously being aware of it, think the way Katie Hopkins is open about thinking.

When my wife and I were discussing names for our children we thought long and hard about what names would minimise the risk of inspiring teasing in the playground - children can be very cruel - or create an unhelpful impression on a C.V.

Not because judging people by their name is right - it absolutely isn't - but because in the real world it happens. If the ridiculous comments made by Katie Hopkins make a few parents realise this when naming their children, and if how terrible she looked caused a few other people to realise how indefensible judging children by their name is, and makes them try harder not to do it, something good may have come out of that programme. 

4 comments:

Jim (not James) said...

Sometimes it really does not matter what you call a child, that child will change it.
I know a lady who had a child she named James, never allowed him to be called anything else, Jamie, Jim and Jimmy were never allowed. The child did end up as a Jim, by his own hand, for all her efforts. (Hi mumsie)

Chris Whiteside said...

The best thing for parents IMHO is to give your child options.

I know quite a lot of people with more than one given name who prefer the second or third name of those their parents provided to the first one. To use such a name takes an awful lot less hassle than adopting a new name by deed poll.

We christened our children with three names each partly so that they would have a bit of immediate flexibility if they really disliked the first name we chose.

Jim said...

My father is one of those. He is and as far as I know, always has been known by his middle name, John. Was not happy when he got his first P4 pass. The name on there comes from your passport. I don't mind mine says "James King" but his read Cyril

Chris Whiteside said...

Oh dear. If your father had been born in the last twenty years I would ask what on earth your grandparents were thinking of, but the name Cyril wasn't quite so uncool at the time he would have been christened.

I even seem to remember from a "Top of the Pops" hit sung by the fans of a first division football club (that would be Premier league today) that one of the country's best footballers had that moniker in the seventies.

But times change!