The name game. Would a rose still smell as sweet? I’m not sure anymore.

At the moment I am pouring over baby name books and family histories, trying to conclude with certainty the most fabulous name for our unborn child.

Does the name you choose predestine your child in any way to have certain qualities or traits?

For example, the other day we were rocking out to the radio in the car when I asked, “Who sings this song?”

“Taio Cruz,” answered my husband. His name was new to my un-with-it ears. I thought for a moment and then observed,

“Ya, if my name were Taio Cruz, I probably would’ve become a famous rock star too.”

I know it’s a stage name, but let’s face it, all names carry a certain cachet. Would “Norma Jean” have been the same sensual sensation if she had stayed with her original homegrown name? Would we all still be swooning, 60 years later, over Cary Grant if he had stuck with what was on his birth certificate: “Archibald Leach”?

My children seem to fit their names, or their names fit them. Andy is just as friendly and imaginative as the kid in Toy Story. Kate is, indeed, the screenwriter’s short-hand for a sophisticated, sassy woman. Luke is as cool as the young Paul Newman (before his salad dressing days.) And Dean has an old-fashion 1950’s appeal that makes me want to dress him in nothing but white t-shirts and blue jeans. Would they still be these same fabulous people I’ve come to know and love if they had different names on their ID tags?

I once met a kid named “Blaze” (no joke) who was indeed a bit of a show-off. I can’t help but think that his parents were partly to blame for the little self-fulfilling prophecy they made there in the delivery room. Can you turn out a demure, Mother Teresa type if you name your baby girl “Jezebel”?

And a name lasts forever. (Unless, of course, you’re Archibald Leach or Norma Jean.) But barring any unforeseen trips to the county court house for name changes, it will be their calling card for life. It must be fabulous, yet restrained. Elegant, but not snooty. Easy to spell, but not on the top ten list.

The first, middle and last names need to have “a ring to it.” Easy on the ears, soft on the tongue, and look fabulous in cursive.

Judging by the papers littering my desk, you’d think I was a pre-teen in love, what with all the cursive names I’ve copiously doodled in every margin.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, freelance writer and mother of four small children. Read more at