A Mindful Approach to Baby Naming

I recently read an interesting article about mindfulness in the “New York Times,” called “In Mindfulness, A Method to Sharpen Focus and Open Minds.” I’d been introduced to mindfulness when I met a “mind/body” expert at the Mayo Clinic to find alternate methods for dealing with health problems that most doctors couldn’t get a handle on.

Here’s a simple explanation of mindfulness from Janice Marturano, founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership: “Intentionally paying attention to the present, nonjudgmentally.” That strikes me as an excellent approach for parents to use when searching for just the “right” name for their baby. As you narrow down the search to a list of names worth considering, try a mindful approach.

Think each name and say each name out loud, first all by itself; then with your last name. Slowly savor the thought and feel and sound of each name as you think about:

  • the “vibe” each name sends out
  • any thoughts or feelings you experience
  • any associations you have with each name, as you think about: famous namesakes, people you know, literary characters or writers,  or movie characters or actors who have each name
  • how the name sounds when you say it (and how it sounds when you say it together with your last name)
  • what kind of person would have a name like this
  • what kind of person you think your child may become
  • how you’d feel calling your child that name to come to dinner, when you tuck him/her into bed at night, or on other occasions
  • how you picture a child with each name meeting new friends and teachers on the first day of school, on a blind date, when applying to college or a job (this will help you think about the impression each name makes on others)
  • how you would like the name if you were a baby being born in 2013

And, to give you more insight about first impressions, it can help to ask friends, relatives, and children what they think when they hear each of the names you are considering.

In other words, “get into each name” and give each a chance to show you what it can do for your child and for you. By doing that, you will be giving each name a fair opportunity and you will enjoy thinking about the benefit and pleasure your child may get from each name—and the pleasure you may get from each name.

If your objective to pick a name is to find one that will be a pleasure for your child and for you, a mindful approach can help you focus on these issues in an open-minded way.

© 2013 Bruce Lansky
All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

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