What's in a name?

Jerod and I have talked about what we might name a baby for years...long before we were even ready to HAVE a baby. We had a loooonnnng list of girls' names we like quite well. So, here we turned up pregnant, and one of my first orders of business was to get this kid named. It's just not something I could save 'til the last minute. I wanted to know boy or girl, and I wanted said boy or girl to be named.

For about two years I've kept a running list of names I liked on my computer. Whenever I'd hear something I liked, I'd be sure to jot it down. Again, the girl column much, much longer than the boy one. The difficulty we had in coming up with a boy made me quite sure that we would definitely be having a GIRL.

For any teachers out there, you know quite well the pitfalls of certain names, and after teaching for 12 years, Jerod has lots of names that had to be immediately crossed off--mostly because of a kid he remembered less-than-fondly. There were also a few names I really liked, but were names of kids Jerod has at his current school. It would be weird to name our baby after a kid he's teaching right now, unless it were something fairly common or generic.

Just those strikes decimated the better part of my list.

OK, well, I also had two other criteria. With Jones being such a common last name (4th place in the U.S., first in the U.K.), I wanted something not-as -common for a first name; so I looked up list after list of the top 10, top 50, and top 100 names and tried to avoid those.

My other criterion was that the name be something that one could easily look at and pronounce, so my child didn't have to constantly tell his teacher what the heck his name was.

So, our finalists were "Cole" (my grandmother's maiden name) and "Ezra." The more I said "Cole Jones" the less I liked the way the "o" sounds worked together. And Ezra started losing luster since in our circle of friends and family, we knew about 15 recently-born boys with Old Testament names. I love Bible names, of course, but we didn't want to just join the trend by choosing another name to add to the list of Jacob, Caleb, Micah, Jonah, Noah, Malachi, etc. But, I liked it because it had a "Z" in it. :) And Ezra in the Bible was an amazing dude.

Over Christmas break, the name Shepherd emerged. Something about it clicked with us, both with the sound of it and the meaning of "shepherd," both literally and spiritually. We put it in our back pocket.

After much discussion and more discussion, we decided to let it rest a few weeks until we found out for sure it was a boy.

Man, that sonogram technician took her own sweet time getting to the gender part of the exam. I'm sure all that checking out the heart, measuring the head, and making sure he had fingers and toes was important; but I was DYING to know what kind of baby was in there! :)

And so, as you've seen on his first pictures...he's a BOY. Yikes! And Shepard returned. The more we said it, the more we liked it. And for spelling, we decided to go with a less literal, last-name spelling. As an aside, I had met a fellow named Shepard Fairey a few years ago--a well-known graphic artist and a grandson of a former president of Winthrop University. He's best-known for this poster and this poster. And, there's a FOX newscaster named Shepard Smith. So, it's not unheard-of as a first name.

Then, there's my tall guy. He's a lover of animals and tends after our little flock of fishes and dogs, and generally one who herds kids all day. I like that the attributes of the word "shepherd" seem to fit him as well.

We weren't terribly particular about the middle name; so we went with my maiden name, "Giles." As a first name, it sounds like a butler or chauffeur; but as a middle name, I quite like it.

There you go. Shepard.

"Return, faithless people," declares the Lord, "for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding." Jeremiah 3:14-15


Hawklady said...

I like it! plus there's that 'Lost' tie in too with Jack Shepherd. :) Do you think you'll call him Shep for a nickname?

Shelley said...

No, I'm not in love with "Shep." It sounds kinda like an old golden retriever. He'll be Shepard to me...and hopefully to everyone. :) But you can't control everything.

Hawklady said...

haha, yeah I can see that!