Friday, October 12, 2007

The Problem With Namesakes -or- The Psychology of a Name

we, in America tend to reserve The Middle Name as a place of honor. If there's someone you admire, but don't really care for their name, you just stick it in after your child's first name, and whenever your child asks, you can tell them all about the great person that they share names with. In theory, this is a great idea.

But here's the problem:

All you moms out there know that the only time you really use a middle name is to give you some more syllables to say when you're child is in trouble & you're trying to get their attention. So the only time your child hears this name of honor is in a negative context. This certainly doesn't go very far to nurture feelings of admiration for The Distinguished Person.

And the other problem, which I'm facing now: We gave Evelyn the middle name of Jan, after my mom. Not only does she have a place of honor in my life, but she's my MOM. --you know, like the person you never talk back to, no matter how mad you are. So there's Evelyn, getting into trouble, and I'm snapping, "Evelyn Jan! you stop that this second!" (or something to that effect) And every time i use that tone of voice with the name, *JAN*, something just grates on me. And instead of feeling strong and authoritative, i feel like *I* should be getting in trouble for talking to my mom like that. It's very disturbing. It even bothers Chris.

So I have a new idea. Instead of naming our children after the people we love & admire, we should name them after someone bad... I think if I said, "Evelyn Jezebel!" it would add a little extra umph to my "mean mommy voice". And every time she heard, "Jezebel," she'd think "man, I don't want to be like that!"

OR, we could only say their middle name at positive times, "oh, Evelyn Jan! it was so thoughtful of you to give all of your candy to your brother." and then when they get in trouble, and we need a lot of syllables, we can just throw in as many middle names as we need to, to make an impact. like: "Evelyn John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt don't you ever throw scissors at the cat again!"


Dog snob said...

It's funny you say that because I do have a tendency to make up extra middle names in my head when i'm snapping at the kids for something. Caleb gets his dads middle name added on. I wonder what the psychology about that should tell me....

~just me~ said...

yah, well even though my name is Karina Anne, my mom called me Kari Joanna Jauchen Mugele. It all makes sense now! :)

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts, Kari!
My sister's name is Candace Jo. But when my mother was really upset with her, she'd call her "Candace Lenore"! I asked her one day who Lenore was. Her reply: " she was a girl in high school that I didn't like and could never get along with"!!!
I think that's very funny in light of what you just wrote!

Mama JAN

~just me~ said...

oh my gosh! that's *so* funny!

Gwendolyn said...

LOL. Very funny, and a little clever, too.