Are parents choosing names or do children name themselves?

A frequently asked question is: does the name make the person or does the person make the name? Are parents choosing names or do the children name themselves?

With such strong influences contained in names, one could feel that their given name has either blessed them or doomed them for life. Many individuals, along with numerous religions and aborigines, feel that children name themselves.

The belief is that the soul impresses its desired name upon the one who will be naming it. Only when the soul feels that the intended recipient did not receive the impression accurately does the soul then attempt to convey his/her name to another relative or some other influential person.

There are numerous stories that have been told by mothers about how they came to name their children. Most believe that parents choose names of their children. Two stories that communicate a different version are repeated here to share different ways names have been communicated to the prospective parents.

Are parents choosing names? Not this time. Joshua's story of how he named himself.

My husband and I had been married a little more than two years when we both had a strange dream on the same night. My husband awoke anxious to share his dream. He stated that our intended son had come to him in a dream and conveyed his name. Neither of us even knew that I was pregnant; yet, I too had had a visitation during the night.

Deciding to write down what each received in separate rooms so not to be influenced by each other, both of us hurriedly wrote what each had heard. Upon comparing papers, we found each of us had scribbled the same first name! My husband had written Joshua Jeremiah, while I wrote Joshua Jedediah. We decided on Joshua Jedediah. Approximately two weeks prior to the actual delivery date and a full month before the doctor’s estimated due date, my husband had another dream. In this one, he stated that Joshua came to him and admonished him for always listening to me. Joshua stated that his dad had gotten the correct name and I had not. So, at that time, the previous decision was changed; we would name our son Joshua Jeremiah. But this is not the end of the story.

The rest of the story

Before Joshua was three, there was another amazing incident. Neither of us had discussed with our son how he came to be named, for he was still too young for that story. My husband was away from home on a business trip when Joshua woke late at night and surprised me in the living room.

Startled, as I hadn’t heard my son get up, I questioned him as to what I could do for him. Joshua Jeremiah stated that he wanted to discuss his name!

Joshua complained that he had almost been given the wrong name and confirmed that he had to go to his dad to be sure he got the right one. He told me, “When I was being born, I gave you my name, but you didn’t get it right, so I gave Daddy my name. You almost got my name wrong!” Imagine my surprise. Yet this genre of story is more common than many realize.

Are we parents choosing names, or are we simply listening to our unborn child?

Simon knew he had been given the wrong name at birth

The second story is similar. The parents choosing names here appeared to get the name wrong. If that happens to you, what do you do? See for yourself.

Simon was born to a Jewish mother, who understood Hebrew, and a Christian father. English was spoken in the home. As soon as Simon could talk, he was complaining about his name. He told his mother that he had given it to her correctly, and she was close, but there was something wrong with his name. He complained bitterly every time someone used his name and would remind him or her that Simon was not his real name.

In his attempt to find his authentic name, he tried every derivative of his name that he could imagine. In the middle of the fourth grade, Simon gave up trying to find the name his soul desired and reluctantly accepted his name. Over the years, he forgot how he had hounded and chastised his mother for giving him a name that was close but not quite right. He forgot this piece of his past until he was in his thirties.

His mother, all excited, called him and reminded him of his search for his rightful name. Curious, but puzzled as to why his mother would bring it up now so many years later, he asked her why she was mentioning it.

His mother responded that she had just returned from a Jewish wedding where the groom was named Simon, but the Hebrew pronunciation was ‘She-mone’.

Within three days of that phone call, Simon changed the pronunciation of his name. What a blessing that his mother had not forgotten the importance of his name to her son and was able to finally gift him with his rightful name.

So, we ask, are parents choosing names?

Return to Best Name Meanings home page from parents choosing names

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Author Sharón Lynn Wyeth

Author Sharón Lynn Wyeth


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