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Would you name your child after an imperfect relative?


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#1 marion

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:02 PM

I'd like to use my deceased father's name for this baby's middle name, if it's a boy. My husband is strongly opposed to the idea.

In the time my husband knew my father he was pretty hopeless and he didn't leave a great impression. My husband believes that my father was of a weak and selfish character. I can't say I blame him for thinking so, especially as my husband had to step in and nurse my family through some tragic circumstances before we were even married whilst my father sat back and did nothing.

However he was still my father and I loved him. I said some lovely things about my father in his Eulogy and I meant every word. My husband didn't know my father as he was when we were children and I think it's appropriate to honour his memory this way. It's as much about acknowledging my loss as it is about my Dad anyway.

My husband is from a culture where the paternal grandfather usually has a say in naming the grandchildren and we allowed this first time around (FIL didn't expect it but was honoured) but we'll be breaking from tradition this time. Both my husband and his father believe it's a sort of bad karma to name a child after a person who does not exhibit traits you'd wish them to emulate.

Thoughts?

#2 Gretch

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:26 PM

It's hard when there's some cultural traditions at play with your husband's family but it goes both ways I think. Your first child's middle name was significant to their family for reasons that don't reflect your personal beliefs so perhaps it is fair that a second child's have meaning to you that may not be how it would work for your husband. I'm not a huge advocate for tit-for-tat arrangements in naming but it seems reasonable here.

I've got family members who were named for imperfect relatives. My cousin has my grandfather's name and he knows the good and not-so-good associations and it has never been a problem. Clearly if the extended Hitler family wanted to use Adolf it could be a dilemma but I don't know anyone who doesn't/didn't have their flaws and less than stellar moments.

ETA: It's a lovely way to honour your father and your heritage - I hope your husband softens his stance and sees beyond his own experiences.

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#3 Mel B

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:52 PM

That's a really tricky one.

I think that it is up to you to gauge the level of your father's imperfection. After all you knew him for a lot longer than your husband did.

On the other hand I tend to advocate compromise between partners when naming kids and that includes letting go of favourite names if the other partner doesn't agree.

My brother named his son after our father (imperfection doesn't begin to describe his failings). To be honest my other brother and I just feel sorry for the poor child and hope that he doesn't ever find out what kind of person he is named after.
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#4 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 12:05 AM

We gave DD2 the same first name as my cousin who committed suicide several years ago. She was not named after her, DH actually suggested the name without knowing the association.

We figured it might be difficult for family to come to terms with this so we told everyone her name from the time gender was confirmed to give them time to get used to it. We also chose a different middle name, even though we preferred my cousin's middle name too as we purposefully didn't want the EXACT same name.

I know it's a bit different from your situation but just thought I'd put it out there. Perhaps stick with your preferred mn for a while to see if your DH softens his stance, you've got a while to go before baby arrives. If he's still really strongly opposed I'd probably drop the name, as Mel B said, it's important for both to agree (well I think so anyway) even if you go with a #2 or 3 suggestion rather than your favourite. (I've never got to have my first pick for either child, first or middle name!)

#5 ~AnA~

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 11:32 AM

What does the name mean to you? Does it invoke affectionate memories? If it makes you feel good, then go for it.

That's a discussion that has to be had with your DH, he should see your point of view, not just his own. He was, after all, your father, it was your experience and memory that counts. More then your husband in my mind anyway.

Personally though, if I were me, I wouldn't use the name. Perhaps I am mean and spiteful. I actually understand where your ILs are coming from, I think it's a belief (superstition, or whatever you want to label it) that is quite common.

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#6 flowerrose

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 01:15 PM

TBH I think your husband is being a bit sactimonious about this. People are fallible and imperfect. If you loved your father despite this then DH should be listening to your heart not his head. I am sad that your DH is intellectualising your grief. It can't be easy for you to be around.

My husband also sees things in black and white an is reluctant to accept or address grey areas. It is a PITA and it doesn't make them right. It just means they have yet to be aquainted with the full range of human behaviour and emotions.

#7 Tigridia

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 02:23 PM

If it were a random name that you just liked and he didn't I'd advise to let it go since I do think that both parents should agree on the name, and while one can like it more than the other I do think there should be veto power about names you don't like.

However, this circumstance is more complicated. I can see both sides of the argument. I agree that not everyone is perfect and picking a name to honour someone means you take the good with the bad. In the end though, he was your dad and if it means a lot to you and your family then you should be able to use the name, especially since your DH had his family/heritage honoured last time around.

At this stage I would keep campaigning for the name and explain how much it would mean to you to use it, but acknowledge that you understand your DH has mixed feelings about the use of the name. He might come around in the next 6 months and it won't be an issue. Ultimately though you have to decide whether using the name, no matter your husbands feelings on the matter, are worth it or not.
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#8 Lemon

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 04:41 PM

QUOTE(Puggie @ Jul 14 2013, 10:03 AM) View Post

You know - something about this really really irritates me. So warning - I have my cranky pants on wink.gif

Who IS perfect? Is your husband perfect? Your father in law? Are they such paragons of virtue that only their traditions and sentiments get to be considered and honoured?

What about the fact that this man was significant to YOU? You loved him. Yeah he had issues. He was human. He made poor choices, probably (hell we all do at times). But he was your FATHER.

How dare someone tell you that it is inappropriate or undesirable to remember the man who fathered you? Who helped shape you? Who cared for you?

To my mind it is the ultimate put down of you and your background/family. It is implying that you are of 'poor stock' which is not worthy of being remembered or cherished.

I would be digging my heels in on this one big time and I'd be having a very loud discussion with my husband about just what he thinks about me and mine.

ETA: And as for what your FIL thinks? Well he's had his heritage honoured and a say in naming the first time around. Time for him to butt out, now dry.gif


I have to agree with everything Puggie has said above.

No one is perfect, and just because your father had his imperfect moments in the time that your DH knew him, that doesn't and shouldn't diminish the wonderful memories YOU have of him from before your DH came along.

I think the fact that it is a middle name probably makes my opinion so strong on this one. We rarely use middle names. If you wanted to use it as a first name I could understand your DH being against it, as the name would be used many times a day every day, but not a middle name.

I would be putting my foot down a bit if I was in your position. He was your dad, you loved him and it is a middle name. FIL got a say in DS1's name, so I think it is only fair that you get to make this decision, especially given that your dad is no longer with you.

FTR my FIL passed away recently and though I haven't brought it up with DH yet (too soon) if we have a boy I want to use FILs name for his middle name. FIL had some VERY imperfect moments both in DH's childhood and while I knew him, but he was human. We are all imperfect. He was still DH's father and he loved him, so I think it will be a nice way to remember him.

As for people emulating some not so good traits of the person they are named after. I really dislike this idea. It's rubbish IMO but if it is a cultural belief you would need to be gentle in how you disagree on that point. I still think that as you have followed his families cultural beliefs in naming DS1 you should get the same respect afforded to you in giving DS2 your dads name, if only to acknowledge your loss of your dad.


#9 flowerrose

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 05:22 PM

QUOTE(Puggie @ Jul 14 2013, 08:03 AM) View Post

To my mind it is the ultimate put down of you and your background/family. It is implying that you are of 'poor stock' which is not worthy of being remembered or cherished.


I have to say, it does smack a bit of this. 'Naughty Marion's naughty family...best brush that lot under the carpet, not let Marion have a say.' It's not fair or right love. To me it goes beyond the name issue to perhaps a wider problem about how your background and parentage is perceived.

I really don't like that your DH is making sweeping statements about your dad's moral fibre to you. I dislike that DH & FIL are telling you that something representing your father is bad karma. It's rude and quite hurtful.

It doesn't matter if he was a total layabout, you don't need to hear it. It really doesn't matter that your DH had to step in where your dad didn't. DH would/should have done it anyway, as your partner. This isn't about him and how he was put out. If you have forgiven (what I assume are) far greater mistakes than that, then that is all that matters.

#10 aChocLover

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 01:54 PM

For reasons already echoed above, I would personally put my foot down. Unless of course, 'imperfect' had any association to abuse, which from what you've written doesn't appear so.

If I had had a son, his middle name would have been my father's - now if I'm honest, before Dad died he became a bit of an alcoholic, his focus was a little misdirected and he probably wasn't around for me all that much - but that didn't undo all the good, all the love and all the things he taught me and guidance in who I ultimately have become.

If you are keen on pushing this, you might need to introduce your DH to the father he didn't get to meet wink.gif




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