Do You Like Your First Name? Would You Change It if You Could?

Do You Like Your First Name? Would You Change It if You Could?

What’s your favorite first name? Is it the name you have? Would you like it to be?

Have you ever used a name that is different from the one your family gave you? Or experimented with the spelling or pronunciation of your name?

In “Why Not Let Children Choose Their Own Names?” Danielle Braff writes:

J. Martin Griffith, 36, who works for a clean energy company in Philadelphia, had the option to choose his own name from birth and beyond, but he still can’t make that big decision.

Mr. Griffith’s mother named him J, which doesn’t officially stand for anything.

“My mother always told me growing up that I could choose a new name,” he said. “I batted around 1,000 names but could never settle on any one name.”

He tried lots of J names and also considered non-J names, but nothing stuck. When he was growing up, some people called him Martin, while a few called him J or “J-the-letter.” Today, the vast majority call him Marty or Martin, as he still hasn’t settled. Mr. Griffith isn’t the biggest fan of letting children choose their names.

“It is hard enough naming someone else, let alone naming yourself, and a name has surprising weight out in the world, I think,” he said.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

— What do you think about the idea of giving children a temporary name, knowing they will choose their own later?

— What do you think is a good age for settling on a name? Why?

— Do you think it’s necessary to legally change a name when a person wants to go by something else? Why or why not?

— How important is a first name, anyway?

— Do you think you will always use the first name you have now? What about your last name? Why or why not?

— Have you ever gone by one name at home and another at school or elsewhere? Was it fun? Confusing? Something else?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.