Monday, July 12, 2010

What's in a Name?

First of all, I have only one excuse for the week-long absence and that is my pessimism took over and I had nothing positive going on in my brain all last week. So I refrained from blogging, even though I wanted to, because I knew that nothing happy would come out. You can all thank me later.

My husband and I have a subscription to a political-type magazine called The Week. It was sort of an accident how it got started, but we get one each week until the subscription expires around November, at which point will probably won't renew. But that's beside the point.

I ran across this little quip in the issue from July 2-9, 2010 (p. 22):

Why Jonni can't spell

Parents now spend many hours, and even hire consultants, trying to pick the right name for their baby. That investment may be worthwhile, as scientists say that a person's name can affect their life well into adulthood. Kids with unusual variations on a common name are slower to spell and read, which "suggests a lot about internalizing," Northwestern researcher David Figlio tells "You have the child named Jennifer spelled with a 'G'--her teacher says, 'Are you sure your name is spelled that way?' That can be incredibly hard on a person's confidence." In another study, Figlio found that girls with more feminine names were more likely to take advanced classes in humanities, while those with male names like Morgan tended toward math and science. Meanwhile, boys with "girl" names like Shannon and Ashley were more likely to develop disciplinary problems, probably because of anger resulting from teasing and self-consciousness. Perhaps most troubling is that kids with odd names that sound "ghetto" or "poor" do worse in school, are less likely to be recommended for gifted classes, and are more likely to be pegged as learning disabled--even if they come from middle-class homes. "Those kids ended up being treated differently," Figlio says. It may be unfair, he says, but names create expectations that powerfully influence a child's development, so be careful what you choose.

I find this article very interesting. My husband and I were very careful to choose names that had a strong meaning, that were spelled normally, but were slightly less common. It is such a big deal to parents these days that their child have a name so unique that they don't realize the many disservices they might be doing by choosing that name. Not that having a unique name is wrong, but it's just important, like the article says, to be careful when choosing a name.

1 comment:

NatureGirl said...

Funny, I blogged about that topic recently. Very interesting quote. I am going to have to find that article.


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