What’s in a name? Proud families carry favorite relatives’ names down through generations. Others will honor entertainers or characters from books, even sports heroes. How did you choose the names for your children?
For me, this definitely is a tough and critical issue. A name is more than just a couple of pretty – sounding words, it is something that constitutes the beginning of a someone’s life. It can not be trivial or easily forgotten. It identifies a person from his birth unto the grave. And there is no “Rename” menu in your child’s birth certificate either, believe me…
I came up with my daughter’s name ( she is actually a second child in the family ) before I found one for my firstborn son. No special reason, really. It just so happened in one of my pre – marital aimless conversations with my wife that had our first kid is a daughter, then it would be wonderful to name her Imogen.
Why, then, she would be an Imogen ? First of all, I wanted a name that sounds “learned”. I wanted a name that no ignoramuses who never read any books could find. That being the case, the next criteria would be the way it sounds and its meanings. I mean, while you would find the name Mephistopheles in Faust, it would certainly not be a strong contender for your child’s name, wouldn’t it ? Here, Imogen and Antigone sprang to mind. Antigone has a definite ring of ivory tower in it as fewer people read Sophocles than Shakespeare. But Imogen has a very strong nuance of meaning. A tough choice, to say the least.
It was finally decided on the third’s criteria application : While it needs to have an educated air, I also wanted it to be hip enough to be used by other people every ten years or so, so to speak. I don’t want a name that makes my offspring’s life difficult. I remember that one of my elementary friend’s name was Aristoteles. A great name indeed, but so ancient that he was left feeling alienated and disconnected from the Michaels and Johns of the school. How would I tackle this seemingly insurmountable dilemma ? Easy. I just took the two candidates and scan the real – life applications of them. Imogen quickly outpaced Antigone as my strongest nominee. There was seemingly no influential Antigone in history, but Imogen Heap and Imogen Bailey quickly leapt out from memory. Here then it was decided. Imogen was so perfect by being rare enough to be a jewel, yet not an endangered species of name to make my child feels like a prehistorical human being.
Next came the matter of Christian name and family name. As unworthy as I may be a man, I still want my children to have a Biblical name. I want them to have a legacy to live by. An inspiration that hopefully will burn them enough to keep them going when they want to quit. Applying similar criteria, I easily picked Zipporah ( It may be noted that this took place after my son was born, while Imogen was picked long beforehand ). In case you don’t know, she’s an unsung gem of Old Testament when once, as Moses’ wife, she saved him from being killed by God himself.
Now, family name is a very different matter. If you read this writing at all, then I imagine you already know that my mind doesn’t work like most people’s. I do not want my children to carry my family name. I want them to start their own. And there’s nothing better than an adjective for a family name. As a choice, “Divine” may be questioned as I myself sometimes find it being overused, and worse, misplaced. However, I couldn’t find the same connotation in any other word, thus it was chosen. I also liked the idea that a family called The Divines will be a fresh beacon in this male – chauvinistic world of family names. And the rest is history……..
So there you go, Angel, your name is Zipporah Imogen Divine. Live on, fly strong and show the world that your name is there for a reason…..