A reader asked me this question,
“What do you think about family names that the person/persons have had a rough life/difficult personality? I really want to use family names but there are a few names in our family tree that almost seem… how do I say it… to have issues attached to it? On one hand this is our family and heritage and the names are of wonderful saints and are great names, on the other hand, the name evokes at least for me, negative or stressful feelings, even though I may love the person… What are your thoughts?“
I thought this was such a sweet and sincere question — a good example of trying to make the best of what (and who) we’re given. Family dynamics can be ah-MAZing! And also the worst ever!
On the one hand, I think doing something like using the name of a particular family member can go far in repairing relationships and even mindsets towards those people, if that makes sense. And hearing the name of a beloved baby over and over again in a loving and safe environment might really help soften hearts toward the original name-bearer, which I think is a good thing (reconciliation and peace of any kind, even small, is a step in the right direction, right?). Almost like an act of charity? On the other hand though, if you think giving the name of a difficult person to your child would have a negative impact on your relationship with your child, or other family members’ relationships with your child, and the child’s view of his/her worth and standing in the family, then I do think that’s a serious consideration.
It’s definitely something that needs to be prayerfully considered on a case-by-case basis. I do love the idea though that, as in the reader’s case above where she actively wants to honor her family and heritage and it sounds like she loves some of the names belonging to people who give her “negative or stressful feelings,” that giving one’s child the name of a difficult relative is sort of an easy thing to do — an easy act of love or reconciliation. Even if you can’t bear to be around the family member too frequently or for too long, your child’s name bears witness to the decision to love.
What do you all think? I’m sure there are some doozy stories among you about this topic — just remember it’s a public blog and nothing published here is private!