I’ve always had an interest in the names new parents give their offspring. In the past, I’ve commented on some of the names mom and dad come up with – they think they’re cute or perhaps singular, but often, the parents don’t stop to think about the consequences of their decision to foist a strange or peculiarly-spelled appellation on a child.
For example – do they realize some people might view their kid as an oddball because of his or her strange name? Do they consider that with a peculiar name or spelling, the chances of people misspelling the kid’s name is likely to dog the new progeny throughout his/her life? Might a peculiar name have an impact on the child’s employability when he or she grows up? Would you hire someone named “Enema?”
Newspaper misspellings could be a problem, too, when junior gets his 15 minutes of fame. Twenty percent of the Toronto Star’s and 16 percent of the New York Times’ corrections are name-related – likely because of odd spellings.
At the Catholic elementary school I attended, the good nuns made it quite clear that we should all name our kids after saints. That sounds like a nice idea, but the church has plenty of saints with unusual names, at least to our modern ears. So maybe making a blank statement that all kids should bear saints’ names isn’t a very good idea.
I looked up some saints’ names and found a few examples: “Charbel” and “Lutgardis,” both of whom were said to be able to levitate, or “Fusca,” “Kizito,” “Pelagius,” “Reparata,” “Tremorus” and “Victalicus” – all who died as children.
“Pelagius Prondzinski” doesn’t exactly flow off the tongue, and would seem to be a horrible name to stick a kid with. “Tremorus” sounds more like a debilitating disease of the hands. But I do recall hearing of a nun whose name was “Sister Reparata” – still, that was a name she assumed when she took her vows, not one her parents gave her.
I understand a desire by some to name their child after a saint who led an exemplary life, hoping some of the saint’s qualities might rub off on the youngster. But let’s agree that we might want to use saints’ names in moderation, or at least choose those that are more common.