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Does name play any role in what a child becomes in life?

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What is in a name? As Africans, there is a belief that the name a child bears goes a long way to determine his or her destiny in life, therefore parents give their children names that suggest what they want them to be. Saturday Punch asked Nigerians whether the name a child bears actually matters

Blessing Iyeli – Name is like a prophecy

The name a child bears is very important. If you take former President Goodluck Jonathan for example, people say that it is his name that made him who he is. Secondly, I know a family that had a very foolish and dull son. His mother had to start calling him Wisdom, now he is abroad studying medicine. If you notice, people are being creative with names these days because of the connotations behind it. My pastor’s son’s name is “God is faithful”, the daughter’s name is “Wealth” and the name is already rubbing off on them

Confidence Akpan- It’s pure happenstance

I don’t believe names affect a person’s outcome in life. People do give their kids great and inspiring names out of wish for them to become like that in future and nothing more.  It doesn’t guarantee a child’s outcome in life. What a person sows, he reaps. However, I don’t doubt the intricacies of life. A person may be so favoured and coincides with her name “Grace”, but that doesn’t mean her name is working for her. Some people are just lucky. I don’t think it’s anything related to their names.

Feyisara Banjoko – It plays a very vital role

Giving a child a name is more like you talking positively or negatively into that child’s life. That is the reason why one needs to get a name with a good meaning before naming a child. For example, Mary means bitterness. Cain means the same thing. Who would want to name his or her child Cain? Ignorance made people name their child Mary because they don’t know the meaning. Whether we believe it or not, a child’s name affects that child one way or the other.

Sewe Iornongu – A good name motivates

I’d like to think it doesn’t matter. However, I’d rather call my child a name that has a positive meaning. Hopefully the child would want to act according to the name each time they remember the meaning. A child called Alexis for instance might grow up bearing in mind that she always has to help and be strong for herself and others in all circumstances. I think a name is a psyche thing.

Jennifer Akhras – It gives the child good identity

It may not work for some people but here in Africa, naming should not be treated with levity. Apart from helping distinguish your child from the rest, a name helps attract good things if only it is a good one. Every physical thing is controlled by the spiritual and names are spiritual. You don’t name your child demon and expect that child to turn out good because spiritual forces would be out to make that child act according to the name.
Obinna Kobi – Name has nothing to do with success

Everyone has a lifestyle they eventually choose to lead once they are grown and understand the concept of right and wrong. A name is clearly an identity that differentiates one from the other and also sheds more light on a person’s cultural background. But it plays no role in determining if a person would end up good or bad. Being good or bad is something people choose to do, bearing in mind the consequences of both actions.

Samuel Tommy – I won’t give my child a bad name

You know that we are all Nigerians. For the fact that I don’t believe a name has any serious implication doesn’t mean I should call my kid a wicked name. That is why parents give their children biblical names. It is just a personal perception or belief. It’s better to avoid problems. If the name “Jezebel” belonged to a wicked woman in the bible, it is better you leave that kind of name alone since it has already been bastardised. Instead you should choose “Esther” that is already tested and trusted.

Yemi Eniola – Good name with good upbringing spells success

I think a good name will help attract good things to the child but that is not to say that a good name will save any useless child. It also depends on the child’s home training, environment and those they associate with. If you like, name that child Bill Gates, if he keeps moving around with useless people, doesn’t have good training and education, that child will never be anything close to Bill Gates. But a good name with good upbringing spells success.

Ade Bambo – To an extent, it matters

Spiritually, names have a vital role to play. Like in the bible, we know the story of Jabez. Because of the name he bore, things were not working out for him, he realised it and decided to cry to God and his name was changed. I am from Yoruba land and we take so many things into consideration before naming a child. But we should also understand that the person bearing the name also has a role to play in what he or she becomes.

Angus Asomugha – Good name adds value to the child’s life

If you name a child Blessing, definitely that child will be a blessing in your life. We in Igbo land, we don’t joke with naming at all. Depending on the situation you find yourself, you may want to give that child a name that relates to the circumstance you find yourself. Every Igbo name has a meaning and believe it or not, it is that meaning that will add value to the child’s life. I know some people don’t believe in it but we do and it works for us.