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How much is it worth to you to name your own baby?
Yes, that’s right, there are people across the country being paid to forfeit the rights to moniker their newborn child.
The article “The New Tug of War Over Baby Names” by Alyson Krueger of The New York Times introduces Frank Hudock, 35, whose grandparents wanted them to name their son Frank. His wife, Jennifer, was not keen on the idea, instead wanting to name him Max.
When Frank relayed this message to his grandparents, they offered $10,000 as incentive for sticking with the family name.
But then the grandparents threw in a sweetener: an offer of $10,000 in exchange for choosing Frank.
While it may not seem like much to consider, Jennifer’s place of employment didn’t offer paid maternity leave, so the money would have gone a long way in offering relief following the birth of Baby Max-Frank.
Ultimately the pair went with Max, the name of Jennifer’s grandfather who passed away when she was seven years old. She and her husband were comfortable making that decision as a couple, but the option is shockingly presented to more couples than one would believe.
Maryanna Korwitts is a naming consultant who, according to the Krueger’s article, says one client’s grandfather offered a family business if the baby could be named after him.
Another woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of angering her relatives, was essentially offered a blank check in exchange for naming her daughter after her husband’s side of the family. She ultimately said no, but teetered on the fence for awhile, considering forfeiting college expenses for her daughter in exchange for one measly name.
“For thousands of years, choosing a family name was really how it was done,” Linda Murray, editor-in-chief of BabyCenter, told Krueger. “Now parents are really trying to choose a name that is unique, that suits their child and that says something about their personality.”
First names like Lisa, Frank, Jennifer, Steve and Dan call for some physical involvement on the job. Other names such as Sarah, Larry, Joe, Maria and Anna boost social skills and a desire to interact with people. And then there are the names that support creative expression like Natalie, Tom, Anthony, Dorothy and Mark. Ever meet a Jim who effortlessly sold you a new car… or a Linda who was your absolute favorite math or science teacher? Those folks were living up to their name’s vocational potential! — Maryanna Korwitts on her website, The Naming Experience
That shift in culture may be what is tempting older folks to pay their children or grandchildren to keep family names alive. No longer is a legacy passed down generation by generation. Instead, the newest child is named with the hope of avoiding the latest fad to be as unique as possible.
While that may be unfortunate for the older generations who are now living long enough to meet their great grandchildren, is it really enough to fork over five figures?
Apparently for some, it is.