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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: How to Decide Between Two Finalists?

Betsy writes:
Hi there
We are having a baby in three days. We are Stuck between jack Henry and Nate Henry . How do we decide?


Imagine that you have chosen to use the name Nate. How do you feel? Try it again, imagining you've decided on the name Jack. Did either pretend decision give you a larger swoop of disappointment/happiness?

Flip a coin: heads is one name, tails is the other. Measure your reaction to the outcome: were you kind of hoping it would be one or the other?

Each parent say to the other, "Okay, the name is going to be _____." Measure reaction. Were either of you hoping the reaction would be different?

Make a list for each name, advantages and disadvantages. Maybe one would remind you pleasantly of a particular person but would also be a hassle for some other reason. Write down everything you can think of about both names. This isn't a "longer list wins/loses" sort of exercise---more like a "Which items seem more important?"

Are you planning more children? Jack and Nate would make a good set of brother names, if you have a boy later on. If you knew you would have a second boy later, which name would you prefer to use FIRST?

Both of those names can be nicknames for other names (Nate for Nathaniel or Nathan; Jack for John or Jackson)---do you have a preference for any of those that might sway you more toward the nickname associated with it?

Go to the delivery with both names. Choose after you've had some time with the baby.

We'll have a poll, over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.] Measure your reaction to the results: are you hoping one will pull ahead? disappointed if the other one does? If there are comments in the comments section, which comments do you feel like arguing with? Which name are you hoping the comments will support?


Kacie said...

I like "Jack" as as stand-alone name, or as a nickname for John or Jackson. But I think I like Nathan or Nathaniel as a given, and Nate as a nickname.

I suppose you could also do "Jonathan" for's a stretch but I've seen it happen!

British American said...

I agree with Kacie. I like Jack as a stand alone name, but I prefer Nate as a nickname.

I voted for Jack Henry - though if the choice was Jack vs Nathaniel, I'd probably go with Nathaniel.

Anonymous said...

I like Jack Henry, not just because Jack seems like a more firm choice for a stand-alone name, but also because "Jack Henry" just seems to debonaire and, well, awesome. I like this better than even Nathan Henry.

"Nate Henry" just doesn't flow as well. I'm not sure if my issue is that I don't dig Nate as a stand-alone name, or if I'd just like it better with a different middle name.

Laura Lou said...

I like Jack Henry for all of the reasons listed above. I would personally shy away from using John Henry to get the Jack nickname, because it reminds me so strongly of the folk hero/tall tale and I can't hear it without singing the song. Also, Swistle this is a wonderful set of ways to make a decision about a name!

StephLove said...

I don't have a preference between the two names, but if you were to consider the full versions, I think Nathaniel Henry is very handsome sounding. (I like John Henry, too, though and the folk tale character association wouldn't bother me.)

Marcie said...

I like Nate, but maybe that's because I am a huge One Tree Hill fan.

Emmuh said...

I would prefer the formal version of either, and then make the nickname from that. Jack Henry is a type of banking software, if that sways your opinion. I would always think of printing loan documents if I used it, but I'm in the industry. No one else would probably think that.

David said...

Forgot to mention, it would be just Nate (not Nathaniel or Nathan) vs. Jack (not John)

kimma said...

I personally prefer Nate, but if I follow Swistles advice and consider them as brothers I prefer to say "Jack and Nate". So maybe Jack should be first born???

Whichever way you go both are great no-nonsense names.

Patricia said...

Jack has become an accepted stand alone name, while Nate would have endless questions about what the given name is. Definitely Jack...and Jack Henry is a great combo.

beyond said...

They're both great names. I see that Jack has more votes at this point, but that's very suggestive isn't it? (I voted for Nate only because I have an adorable nephew who goes by that name.)
I can't add any advice to what Swistle has said...
Good luck!