Saturday, January 9, 2016

Choosing Names

When people are expecting a new baby they have to choose a name for it.

Today those who want to know if it will be a boy or a girl usually don't need to wait until the baby is born to find out, so they can decide on a name well before the birth.

Some parents name their son or daughter after themselves, or choose a name that has been traditional in their family. There have been lots of Juniors in the world!

Other people name their infants after somebody famous, such as a movie star or political figure.

It's interesting how certain names suddenly become popular.

Years ago I'd never even heard of anyone named Mia. Then, one year while I was teaching preschool  I noticed there was at least one girl with that name in every class. Later when I was substituting in elementary schools, I met dozens of girls named Mia. Others had slightly different spellings of the same name.

Lots of expectant parents browse through baby name books to find one with a meaning and/or cultural history they like.

My name, Janet, is one of many that are similar. Let's see... Jane, Joan, Jean, Joanne, Janice, Joanna, Jeanette, Shawna Juanita, and lots more are all versions of the same feminine name. The masculine forms of the name include John, Juan, Shawn, Hans, Ivan, Jack, Giovanni, Zane, and many others.

All of those names share the same meaning, gracious gift of God, or God gives grace. It's easy to see why parents in lots of cultures chose versions of that name for their babies.

In case you're wondering why a grandmother like me still keeps baby name books, it's because I'm an author and I like to choose names for my characters that fit their personalities and cultures.

Do you know what your name means?

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