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Will Your Child's Name Affect His Personality?

My son wants to name his unborn son Maverick. Do you think this will undermine his personality?

- Concerned Grandfather

Dear Grandfather:

A maverick is an independent spirit who doesn't bow to convention. (During the 2008 presidential race, "maverick" became a political buzzword. But it doesn't sound like you're worried about that kind of convention.) As a name, it's the stylistic equivalent of bungee jumping in a cowboy hat.

I can't tell from your letter whether you're more worried about the name Maverick in particular, or about what it's not: A classic, traditional man's name. In either case, though, the main issue is the same. You want a name that will encourage the boy to walk the straight and narrow, not "undermine" his strong, respectable foundation.

Given those feelings, I'll guess that you gave your own son one of the classic manly names. That's the same son who now wants to name the grandbaby Maverick, right? So perhaps names don't shape our personalities as much as you think. Perhaps your conventionally named son hasn't enjoyed being one of the crowd, or has mixed feelings about his life in the traditional lane. Perhaps he wants to raise his son differently from how he was raised, in which case the name choice is only the first of your battles. Or perhaps -- most likely -- it's just a matter of evolving trends.

You might be surprised to learn that Maverick isn't as...umm...mavericky as it used to be. The name has been climbing the American top 1000 for 15 years now, and it's even hotter in Canada. It's part of our new, wide-open name culture that has the manly classics dropping like stones

Take comfort in the thought that a little Maverick won't seem so wacky in a modern classroom full of Rykers, Coltons and Jetts. And if that doesn't do the trick, remember that what goes around, comes around. When it comes time for young Maverick to rebel against the parents who named him on the wild side, where can he turn but the straight and narrow?


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

September 10, 2009 11:54 AM
By jenna b (not verified)

My son had an imaginary friend named Maverick. We thought about naming his little brother Maverick, but I didn't want folks calling him Little Ricky, or Ricky, or worse, you know..DICK. If they go with Maverick, which I love by the way, make sure the only nic name allowed is MAV - which, I think, ROCKS. ; )

September 11, 2009 11:38 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree I would so name my son Maverick! I think it is a very strong name. No nicknames though, why give a kid a name if you're not going to use it? I've never understood that!

September 21, 2009 7:56 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I used to work with a woman named Rebel. Aside from the fact that she had to constantly explain to people that it WAS her real name (and that her mother found it in a trashy romance novel) she absolutely loves it. And yes, she's a bit of a rebel.

The other option her parents had was "Dixie" (she was born in the South). She often said she would have been an entirely different person with an entirely different personality, if they'd gone that route instead.

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