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What’s In A Name?

February 23, 2021

I have an unusual last name. And fortunately, it’s a name that inspires positive thoughts for people.

BLISS: perfect happiness; great joy

Sometimes people compelled to comment on it.

That’s a wonderful name.

Thanks, I picked it out myself.

And I did.

There is a Greek tradition of not naming children until sometime between the 7th and 10th day after their birth. In Kenya, it’s a tradition that a baby’s first name called the jina la utotoni, is given to them by an older relative. Up to 40 days after birth the child is given its adult name, called the jina la ukubwani by the parents or grandparents.

I had a relative named like this, or nearly so. When my niece was born, her parents couldn’t decide on a name. So, she had no name for the first part of her life including a family reunion where I met her for the first time. We took to calling her Baby No-name during the reunion.

Eventually, the name was decided because my brother-in-law performed a the religious rite of giving the baby a name and a blessing. The name he gave her in front of God and the church? Yeah, the one he’d picked.

Fortunately it suits her.

I have eight daughters. My lovely wife wouldn’t let me name a single one of the “Joy Ann.” I had them convinced each one of them that it was going to be their name, until they finally saw through my jokes at about 8 years old.

You might think that no one would consider naming their child “Joy An[d] Bliss.” But, I had a friend in school named Joseph. His last name was Kerr. He went by the name Joe. Yup. I went to school with Joe Kerr. He got kidded about it, but I’ wouldn’t be surprised if he named his first son Joseph. After all, his full name was Joseph Kerr III. The same joke didn’t get old for three generations.

One of my daughters married a man last named Swain. Their first born son was the first grandson for my lovely wife and me. My daughter called one day to tell me they had chosen a name.

We’ve decided to name him Bruce.

Bruce Swain. Have you thought about this?

Absolutely. We think it will be a fun and unique name.

It’s easy to imagine years of themed birthday parties for him.

Names are funny things. We spent hours considering the names for our 13 children. Even the adopted ones got new names.

And that’s what happened to me. I was adopted when I was 16. I wasn’t some foster care kid finally getting a forever home. My mother, my birth-mother, married a man when I was 11 year old. When I was 16 I asked him to adopt me. My older brother did as well.

Yes, I like the name Bliss. I picked it out myself.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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