Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Screw up a Kid for Life

I’ve named three babies in my life. You may question whether that makes me a doddering amateur or a seasoned professional. I suppose if I said I’d hammered three nails in my life you’d likely not be inclined to ask my help on your next construction project. But if I said I’d defused three bombs in my life, you’d think I was MacGyver (Or James Bond if you’re too young to know who MacGyver was.) Given the relative scarcity of baby naming opportunities a person has in his life, I consider myself highly proficient at baby naming.

I named my first child, Brennen after bickering through a list of names with my wife. My second son, Caleb, was taken from the same list, being the only other name that we both agreed on for a boy. My daughter, Emily, is named after the greatest poet in the history of the universe: Emily Dickinson. 

Those are three pretty straightforward names. Chances are, if I asked you to spell all of them, you’d go two-for-three without breaking a sweat, and you might even luck into spelling Brennen’s name with an “e” instead of an “a.”

So if a noted weirdo like me can name three children without incident, setting them up for a life of normalcy (at least on the as far as their names go), why are so many people having trouble naming their babies lately without resorting to odd creations and perplexing spellings?  Celebrities, for example, apparently can’t even be bothered to think about their children’s names. They just shout out the first concrete noun in sight and go with it: Apple! Blanket! Coco! Done.

Possibly just as bad (at least for their future teachers) are those kids whose parents decide to test the limits of phonetics with their creative spellings. Ashleigh, anyone?

I fear we are raising a whole generation of kids who think spelling is like some sort of X-games event: make it up as you go, and as long as it looks pretty, you’ll get some points.  

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