Editor’s Note

Recently, I learned that my brother and sister-in-law are expecting a child.

“What names are you considering?” I wondered aloud as I spoke to my older sibling on the phone. (I did congratulate him first, by the way.)

His name, his wife’s name and his stepdaughter’s name all start with the letter “S.” So, regardless of whether they have a boy or girl, they’re planning to go with a name that begins with an “S.”

That seems logical. They wouldn’t want the kid to feel left out.

When I read birth announcements in the paper, I sometimes wonder, “Why would anyone ever want to give that name to their child?”

There’s something to be said for being unique and doing something a little different, but I think parents should be careful when coming up with a name.

For example, giving a kid a name that he or she won’t be able to spell until they’re in the fourth grade is probably a bad idea. Choosing a name or initials that will get him or her picked on in school or elsewhere is just as bad. I would tell my brother to think twice, for example, if he and his wife decided to name their son Adam Steven Shelters. That would be a poor choice of initials at best.

School children – and adults, for that matter – can be quite mean. There’s no need to give them extra ammunition.

Going with a popular name – although it may be boring – is probably the safest bet. In May, USA Today reported that Sophia was the most-used name for girls during the previous year. Samantha, another one of those “S” names my brother is considering, also cracked the top 20.

Jacob led the charge for the boys, but nothing starting with an “S” made the list.

Maybe my brother and his wife will have to be creative if they have a boy. Or, they could settle on something boring, like Scott.