What’s in a name?

It’s a difficult job, naming a child. There’s a lot to weigh up. You want to choose something relatively timeless, but not dull. You need to try and somehow anticipate the character of your child and find something that fits. You don’t want to lumber them with a name you or they will regret.

So imagine how difficult it is coming up with a name for a child who is nearly 16. For reasons which some people reading this will understand, one of my children needs to change theirs. Graciously, they want us as parents to be involved in that process, and together to find a name with which we are all happy. It’s a challenge. It’s as difficult as it was first time around, with all the baggage of switching from the one to which we are completely accustomed. Not just the psychological baggage, but the plain, simple baggage of routine. Imagine if I told you to suddenly start referring to, let’s say, chairs as ‘brocktons’. You would find it tough. Instinctively, you would see a chair and think of it as a chair. (I am not suggesting my child matters to me as much as a chair, don’t be absurd. Chairs are much more important.) You would need to re-educate yourself in a fairly fundamental way.

But here’s the thing. When you get past the emotional upheaval, you realise that it’s an incredibly positive process. You get to demonstrate to your child that all you really want is to make them happy. You understand that, when you remove the sentiment from it, a name is just a word, and behind that word is the exact same person who was there before. All you’re doing is changing a label.

Let’s change the label.

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