Wait a second…here’s why you shouldn’t name your kids after other people
“This one we named her Njeri after her grandmother because….”, “this one we named him Omondi after daktari (the doctor in the family) because…” or this one we named them after their godparent because…” These have often been been the reasons some parents give when naming their children.
Some parents may chose particular names of people they already know because they are either fond of this person who did something significant for them, want to honor someone, hope that these people would love and take care of their children who were named after them in the event they are no longer around, hope that their kids will turn out to be like the person they are named after or simply follow a cultural expectation that they are supposed to name their kid after someone.
While it may all be done out of good intentions, new parents must stop a second and think about the names they pick for their children. While a name carries significance beyond the mere identification of a person, parents must think about the implications and consequences of naming their kids after someone. Here are some of the issues that may come up…
First, you place expectations on your child before they can even speak their first word or walk! Because you named them after Doctor Omondi, you’ve already decided they will become a doctor like their uncle and will toe the same line Dr. Omondi toed to get to where he is today. Eventually, as your child grows, the expectations will pile pressure on them, sometimes even forcing them to live a life they don’t want just to please their parents and Dr Omondi. Immediately, you disregarded that your child might want different things in life.
Secondly, these children will feel they have no identity especially if people will continuously compare them to Dr Omondi or their grandmother. They will be expected to do things the same way the person they were named after and if they don’t, then they are a let down. It’s fine to want to name them after big people such as Obama or Uhuru but what do you do to this child when they feel they can’t be who they genuinely are? What do you think the constant comparison to Dr Omondi will do to them? Will they be in the wrong if they begin resenting those they are named after?
Last, but not least, it is a cultural expectation to name kids after someone or a phenomenon such as Nafula born during the rainy season but what happens when one person feels overlooked in not being ‘honored’ by having a child named after them? This is the recipe for family discord- especially when several babies are born in a short period and neither of them is named after a particular person.
Let’s think outside the box when naming our kids and not complicating their lives by naming them after relatives and ancestors. As superstition has it, you may have named your child after someone you believe is good and achieved great things but you do not know their secret lives- and this may ‘follow’ your kid who will start having the same secrets in their life as well.
If you wish to avoid these issues, it would be better to simply give your child names that do not have to be tied to someone else other than having the family surname. You can even opt for none tribal names such as Neema, Zawadi, Furaha, and Faraji for second or surname names if your family is complicated and you have limited contact with them.
Also read: KCPE, KPSEA results to be released this week