A New Zealand judge hearing a custody dispute, made the child involved in said dispute a ward of the state for purposes of renaming her. Her given name had been “Talula does the Hula”. This came up apparently during the questioing of the child in the case who admitted to being so embarrassed by the name that she would not even admit it to her close friends.
Apparently, New Zealand has a law which permits the state to block names which could be considered “offensive to reasonable persons”. Among the proposed names which the New Zealand government has refused parents from giving children when they applied:
Fish and Chips
Yet, even with this law, names like “Number 16 Bus Shelter” were permitted.
As a teacher, I do occasionally run into a name which makes me wonder what type of mushroom the parents were smoking in the delivery room, because certainly, no amount of planning would lead them to this name, and planning that long on drugs would certainly have killed them before the child is born. Now don’t get me wrong ….. I’m not saying that every kid has to have names like “Elizabeth Mary” or “John William” …. that’s obviously a very traditional Eurocentric stance on things. However, I think most sane individuals would realize that when a parent names their son “Yorhiness” (pronounced, “Your highness”, as was a student of mine years ago), that this is going to cause some problems for the boy down the road. (the student in question said that he had “dealt with it”, but could not wait to legally change it when he was old enough).
So I plead to parents out there: creativity is a fine thing in art and music and writing and engineering. When it comes to a child’s name, take a deep breath and think: if you had carried that name for your life, would you have blamed the bullies for stealing your lunch money every day? If you hem-and-haw for even an instant, move on! You will have plenty of opportunity to torture your kids as they grow older. Let the name be something they can at least be comfortable with.