I have a few pregnant friends right now so all the talk is baby names, which we have already established is a favorite topic of mine.
Right now the debate raging in all of their households it seems is naming a child after a living loved one. My father has always warned against this. I'm not a huge fan either. I kind of like the Jewish tradition of naming after a deceased loved one and then, if you're not crazy about the name or if the baby is the opposite sex of the person they are being named for, using the first letter. I like using the name of a living relative for a middle name more.
Now, of course, for full disclosure, my son is named William and so is Jeff's brother, but we did not name Will for his uncle which is why he is Will and not Bill.
One reason I am not a huge fan of naming after a living relative is what the baby will be called. If a baby is named David after his grandfather David and is called David, that's great. I'm on board. However, if baby David is now going to be called Anthony because that's his middle name to differentiate him from his grandfather, that is where I see a problem. Why didn't we just name him Anthony David and David is still for Grandpa but is not used because it is the middle name?
I live in the southeast, here it is very common for parents to name their child one thing and call him or her something completely different. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for this. But it typically causes mass confustion either at school, the doctor's office or jobs. Some children don't even know their first name isn't the name they are being called. I know it sounds hard to fathom but it's true.
There are other complicating issues such as if another family member wants to name a child after the same person and you can't decide on different nicknames or if the person being named for doesn't want someone named after him or her.
Don't get me wrong, family names are great, but I definitely feel like I could not call a child by a name other than their first name and try to avoid conflict with my family over naming rights.