Dear Grandparenting: Here goes my first big sound off in 2016. It is about the way my grown children do their best to make sure our old family names will fall by the wayside. This is how it is supposed to work. Your children are supposed to pass on their family names to their children. It’s not exactly rocket science. How can you screw that up? But when it came time for my two daughters to pick names for my grandchildren, they forget to include anything from my list of favorite family names.
It burns me up. I even made sure my children knew what names I was looking for. That’s how it has always been done. I’m not talking about some fancy name with Roman numerals at the end, like John Henry Adams IV. All I want is a name from one of their ancestors. Is that really too much to ask? Stormy Weather, Kingsport, Tennessee
Dear Stormy: Since America’s founding, choosing a family name for newborns was almost automatic. Pass it on was the unspoken rule. This custom understandably found great favor among grandparents who lived to see themselves memorialized in another generation.
Traditions aren’t what they used to be in today’s families. Modern parents can pay naming consultants to help them choose, or check on-line sites like BabyNameWizard.com or Nameberry.com to see which baby names are trending up or down. Others equate given names with destiny, and select those they think will give their child an edge up in life. Laugh if you want, but there is some evidence that a child’s name can influence school performance or career opportunities, for better or worse. The increased percentage of children born out-of-wedlock is another contributing factor. Why use the family name of a partner who might not stick around?
There are stories of grandparents who throw in some serious sweetener, offering a stack of cash or stake in the family business if their grandchild is given a certain name. Females like your daughters often put up the most resistance. For many, the centuries-old practice of taking their husband’s last name has worn thin, so now it’s in with the new and out with the old. Can you say Leonardo or Bartholomew? Grandparents are just going to have to learn to love their grandchild regardless. Here’s a hint: It’s easy if you try.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
As Ruby Silver from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and grandson Charles were discussing the New Orleans Saints football team, Charles suggested the team should trade star quarterback Drew Brees.
“That won’t happen until pigs fly,” said Ruby.
“Promise me this Grandma,” said Charles, age 7. “If I’m sitting next to one on an airplane, can we trade seats, pretty please?”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.