We read through 100,000+ baby names, experimented with the syllables in the first-middle-last names, made sure the initials didn’t spell anything crude, and chose a name: Wyatt.
In 2007, we distantly knew of one living Wyatt, and we chose our Wyatt’s name to commemorate my family’s love of the West, where Wyatt Earp reigned supreme in the late 1800’s. While biographies differ on some darker areas of Earp’s character, he was widely known as a strong, independent lawman. The name was perfect for our baby.
A few months later, actor Kevin Costner named his son Cayden Wyatt Costner. He can slide — he played Wyatt Earp in the title movie.
That same month, singer Sheryl Crow adopted a boy and named him Wyatt. Wait a minute, what’s happening here?
In 2009, I was in a mommy-and-me swimming class when a woman and her son, Thomas, swam up to us. When she learned of my son’s name, she exclaimed that she’d just named her baby Wyatt. I started to feel mildly ticked, like I had this claim on my son’s name and she shouldn’t use it just because Sheryl Crow blasted such a cool name on the cover of People magazine.
Then I met two more Wyatts. One was my assistant pastor’s baby, and the other was my friend’s toddler. These are Wyatts that I got to look at in the eye and say, “Wyatt, meet Wyatt.” And suddenly I realized how silly I was. I don’t know what made these other families choose that name, and it’s none of my business. What makes my son strong or independent isn’t his name — it’s how we lead him in life, what choices he is allowed, how he makes those choices, and how we support him along the way.
So, what do you do when your baby’s unique name gets trendy? You raise that baby to be a unique person unto him or herself (even if we did dress him up like a cowboy each time we visited his grandparents in Wyoming).
He’s a good pard.
Steve could be the name of the jerk boss who fired you and hired his nephew, and it’s also the name of the man who invented Apple computers. Timothy is the name of a man who bombed a building in Oklahoma and killed dozens, and it’s also the name of a lovely fashion editor on TV, and the same name of the man who invented the World Wide Web.
So what’s in a name? Well, the last name obviously makes a difference. The people attached to that last name make a difference. The people who influence the child, who shape and lead and help that child. In the end, the name is attached to a person. It’s up to us to help that person be the best kind of person possible. Even with a trendy name.
Has your kid’s name become a trendy name? Have you had a similar parenting moment when you realized you were looking at it all wrong?