The List

Kate handed me the following list this morning:

She said: I made you this list to help you stop forgetting our names.

I said: I have never forgotten your names!

She said: You forget my name all the time. You call me, Claire; you call Claire, Kate; you call Henry, Jack. Now you can just look at your list and make sure you get it right the first time.

Guess I'll be studying my list tonight. Now I know why my name growing up was, PeggySarahEmmaCharlie. :)



Just wanted to give a quick update. I'll write a separate post about homeschooling later. Quickly, it is going well and we will continue with it next year. Kate will be in 1st grade and Claire will be in Kindergarten. "Well" doesn't always mean easy, but it is good.

Kate and Claire are just busy with school, ballet and playing. Henry and Jack are busy with trains and trucks.

One funny thing, Jack was crying and calling for "Momma" the other day and Kate said,
"Jack is NOT ready to get married. You cannot be crying and calling for "Momma" when it's time to get married."

I'm starting to get tired. I'm hoping it's just this week and I'm not already entering that phase of the pregnancy. I still have about 15 weeks left!!! Simon Oliver is moving and kicking a lot which is nice. He's busy and seems like he'll fit right in. I am still wavering on what to call him. I've never really done that before so it's a little strange. I can't seem to settle on one name. Simon, Oliver or Sims. I have no idea. He will be named Simon Oliver for sure! I already have his initials monogrammed on his diaper bag and that's more official than a birth certificate as far as I'm concerned! Rick is set on Simon or Sims so I don't know why I keep throwing Oliver into the mix. I just wish I would feel settled about it.


Naming a Baby: Introducing.....

We have taken much longer to name this fifth child than the other children, and that is directly related to me. Well, this is excepting Jack because we didn't know if he was a boy or girl until birth and I simply cannot discuss names until I have my options narrowed by gender. Simon was Peggy's top name from the beginning, but I had nixed it early in the process because I didn't like the way it sounded for some reason. We had a name all but picked out, but couldn't seem to make it final because I'm not sure either of us were in love with it. We pretty much stumbled on Oliver first, which had also been tossed out early on by me, but for some reason one evening the meaning struck me in a different way. At first, the meaning, Olive Tree, may seem an odd choice, but taken together with the meaning of the first name (along with a little explanation), we believe we have given Simon Oliver Hutchinson a name that is historical, strong, encouraging, and masculine. And as mentioned previously, we get bonus points for picking all five from the character list of ABC's Lost as Simon was Charlie's father on two episodes in season 2.

Simon Oliver Hutchinson

This name means, "he has heard", and the meaning is taken from its Hebrew root Shema, "to hear". Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is known as The Shema as it begins with the imperative to "Hear" O Israel. This command is given to Israel immediately following Deuteronomy 5 where the Ten Commandments are repeated. In Deut. 6 Israel is instructed to listen to and obey the commandments while also teaching them to their children. Our hope for Simon is that he will hear the call to, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might," and repent from his sins turning to the Lord for salvation.

Simon's middle name is taken from the latin for Olive tree. The Olive Tree holds a prime place in scripture and it is known to be a "very hardy" and "drought tolerant" tree. "The trees are also tenacious, easily sprouting back even when chopped to the ground."

The trunks are twisted and give an appearance of being strong and weathered. Psalm 128 presents children as Olive shoots that are blessings for those who fear the Lord. Spurgeon, commenting on this Psalm says, "How beautiful to see the gnarled olive, still bearing abundant fruit, surrounded with a little band of sturdy successors, any one of which would be able to take its place should the central olive be blown down, or removed in any other way."

Yes, we have seen that the name has a Germanic root meaning Elf Army, but we will ignore that one and stick with the more well-known latin root that draws us back to its Hebrew meaning when using it to train up Simon.

Simon Oliver
Taken together these names present us with a picture of a young man who has heard the call of the Gospel and proves to be hardy and drought tolerant as he bears the name of Christ in a dry and weary land. The United States is continually becoming Spiritually drier as higher percentages of people choose to remain enemies of God than to reconcile to Him through Christ. If the Lord does not reverse this trend, Simon will live out his life in a lukewarm society (Rev 3:16), or even worse in a pagan society. As one "who has heard", we hope he will live long like the Olive Tree, rejecting the societal call to flee the Lord, and proving to be a source of strength and encouragement for other followers of Christ.

Naming a Baby: One Last Hint

As we come to a close on this series of posts, it is nearing time to reveal the name of our fifth child. Our next post will be our final, but before that, I wanted to give this one as a teaser. The name of our fifth child is in the screenshot below.

Naming a Baby: Our Mystery Factor

In 2004 we named our first child Kate. In 2006 we names our second child Claire. In 2007 we named our third child Henry. In 2009 we named our 4th child Jack. Notice a pattern? We didn't either, but as has been noted in a previous blog post, we began watching ABC's Lost on Netflix in the Spring of 2010, and were astonished to realize later in that year that each of these names was a character on the show. As we named our 5th child, we were not guaranteed to pick a name from this show, but I think we both secretly hoped the name we selected would be a character from the show, and fortunately we did end up with a name from the character list. This probably speaks to the fact that we are more controlled by our culture than we realize, but then again, in 30 years this will provide a nice story to tell the grandchildren as they watch Lost on Nick@night.

Feel free to guess the name in the comments.

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Naming a Baby: Meaning

I feel this may be too often overlooked today. Scripture places a heavy emphasis on the meanings of the names given. It may be said that this is because of the Hebrew culture, but we also find this in Christ who gave Peter his name. God forbids His name to be taken in vain or for emptiness, and in this He is saying that we should not lift up His name and proclaim to be His adopted children married to Christ without manifesting His Holy attributes. Granted, this is the beauty of the Gospel because every transgression of the law proves us to be breakers of the third commandment, and the grace of God in Christ is why we no longer fear the Lord, but rest in His Son. Nevertheless, God considers His name to be connected to His character or essence. In naming our children, who are created in His image, we want the name to reflect the hope we have for them in life.

I have found that after naming five children, the meaning behind the name seems to be more important to me than my own affection towards how it sounds. In this I am not saying that the other factors noted are of no consequence, but this far outweighs them in importance such that all the other factors could be perfect, but if the meaning behind the name does not reflect the hopes we have for this child's life, the name will not be chosen. I understand an argument may be made claiming that we are taking the meaning too seriously, but again, my purpose is not to defend our methods, but to expose them to those with interest.

It has been mentioned elsewhere that the name can be used for training the child, and this is especially true of the meaning. We have selected a verse of scripture for each child that aligns with the meaning of their name and will attempt to utilize this for their edification, training, and correction while they are under our care in hopes that the Lord can use this for two purposes. First, we hope He will find it fit to use their name's meaning to draw them near to Him throughout life (even after we are gone from this earth) especially in times when sin begins to harass them. Secondly, we hope the focus on the importance of their name and its meaning will give them a greater respect for the name of the Lord and draw them toward seeking to honor His name in all that they think, do, and say.

We have lost the passion for holiness out of fear of legalism in our nation, and this is dangerous. I heard an ad on the Christian radio station the other day informing me that I should not hold my Christian leaders to standards that only Christ can attain. This seems to be a dangerous statement to make. It is true that we will never attain perfection on this earth, but when our language begins to drop our expectations below God's standard of perfection (Matthew 5:48), we are in danger of rendering the Gospel useless. We are called to "stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24), and the question is to what standard are we stirring each other up toward. Our response to sin is not to be judgement, hatred, and alienation, but we are to seek repentance for our brothers in Christ when one's falling short of God's glory causes a rift between us and them (Matthew 18). Upon the transgressor seeking forgiveness we are to be fully restored to them without hesitation because we have won our brother back. This does not deny holiness but rather exalts it and magnifies the Gospel as we recognize our inability to attain to the holiness of God. The name of God is holy, and a serious focus on the meanings of the names of our children will hopefully prove beneficial as we seek to honor and glorify God through obedience in training these gifts for usefulness in His kingdom.

Naming a Baby: Family Factor

Family Fit
This is probably more of a tool than a deciding factor. The website nymbler.com provides an easy way to narrow down to names you may find appealing based on other names used or favored. We enter the names of our other children, and the name we choose has always been on the first page. Again, this is probably more because the nymbler tool is useful rather than any other reason.

Family Name
We do not always use a family name. Three of our five children have names that can be found in our families. This is important to us, but not a final deciding factor for various reasons. At one point I wanted to name a child after myself so we would have Richard Scott Hutchinson II, but I was torn on this, and ended up giving Richard and Scott as middle names to our first two sons instead. Since I have no more names to give, our third son will not have any part of my name in his name. We also have not chosen any other name from our families. We did toss around some family names quite seriously, but couldn't seem to land on one, and I believe this shows the weight we give to this when choosing a name. It is a part of our discussion, but it has not proven to be utterly crucial to us in the process.

Family Opinion
Names are funny because a name can be loved by one person and hated by another. A name can be most beloved by someone only to fall out of favor because of a new acquaintance. One thing I believe to be true about names, though, is that a selected name will eventually become favorable and a delight once the child bearing the name is born. While we do not specifically mention to our families that their opinions count, this is one thing we consider in selecting a name. We have tossed several names due to a family member sharing their negative feelings toward the name. We have not made it our practice to bring them intimately into the naming process, but we do listen with open ears as they have shared names they dislike. Once we narrow our list of names to the top 10, though, we pretty much focus on meaning as the other factors have already been used as filters. If it comes to light that a name in our top 10 is disliked by a family member, that opinion will not hold as much sway as if this information had been uncovered earlier in the process.

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Naming a Baby: Weak or Strong

Boys are too often encouraged to remain young and immature in our society. This encouragement comes in both overt and subtle or unintentional forms. While mothers baby their little boys and protect them from taking responsibility in life, fathers too often stand by and do not honor their God given role of training their children to leave their care and honor their heavenly Father while on this earth. All of this occurs while leaders throughout the nation and world decry serious attempts to shape and train children in the name of freedom. "Children should be allowed to freely follow their own path in life" is the shout proclaimed by many, but those people fail to understand the message of scripture that says we are born dead in our trespasses and sins. Giving a son a strong name is one way in which we hope to instill in them their duty to God to lead and take responsibility in whatever sphere they are given. This is especially true in their role as head of the family.

What makes a name strong? Various factors can play into this including the meaning, its origin and historical age, the men usually associated with this name in history, and some other more arbitrary reasons. One of the last questions I always ask myself is if I consider this a strong name. I do realize that Christ's strength came through His appearing weak as He died on the cross.  So, strength is more associated with submission to the will of God and leaning on His power than in showing forth the power of man.

As a note, when considering names for girls the same principle applies, but in them, of course, we are looking to encourage Biblically feminine traits.

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Naming a Baby: Gender Identification

Names are often gender specific, but throughout history many names have switched the primary gender to which they are normally given. It has been our practice to avoid giving such names to our children. We have especially avoided giving names that are currently in transition between sexes. This is more a matter of preference than principle for us, but I do feel there is some value in giving names strongly tied to the child's sex in today's society. As many in our society seek to deny and nullify the differences between the sexes in hopes of destroying the foundation of marriage as we know it Scripturally and historically, it seems wise to do all we can to train our children as to their Biblical roles as instituted by our Creator. The name of the child is one tool that can be used in this training. Naming a child with a purpose and using this name in their training on a regular basis will serve to remind them of the purposes of God throughout their lives.

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Naming a Baby: Cultural Heritage

We hear quite a bit about heritage and culture today, and agree that these are important. It is interesting and useful to know the struggles and triumphs of one's ancestors. Names often have cultural ties, and we haven't felt the need to make a stand against these stereotypes; therefore, this plays a part in narrowing down our list of names. I may be wrong in my assessment, but it seems like a Chinese man named Steve would not hold as much cultural sway with fellow Chinese men and women as they would probably consider this man westernized. Should this be a factor in naming our child? Maybe not, but the reality is that it is a factor for us, and we have considered a few names briefly only to toss them out because they do not fit within the naming structures of our heritage.

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Naming a Baby: Because I'm a man

In August 2011, we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We were engaged in December 2000 and married on August 18, 2001. This means that sometime during the months of October or November in the year 2000 I had my first serious thoughts about marriage. I have since come to find out that women often begin their wedding planning at age 5. I can see the beginnings of this process in my daughters. How does this relate to the topic of baby names? It relates in that my wife seems to have meditated on baby names daily for the past 20 years, and the first time I think about a baby name is when she says, "so, what names do you like for this baby?"

This is not meant to be a commentary on my views of marriage and baby names. Scripture shows marriage to be an instituation put in place by our Creator, and this demands we hold it in high regard. Likewise, Scripture places a high value on names. I'll elaborate on that later, but the story here is that my daily meditation is on things other than marriage and babies; therefore, when it comes to selecting a name for our child I seem to procrastinate and do other things first. Remember, this is more of a confession than a defense of my ways. I think my procrastination on this topic relates partly to my being a man, but that is definitely not the most significant factor. Read on to see other reasons.

Naming a Baby: What is our process?

We have now named five children, and it seems we have unofficially fallen into a standard baby naming process in the Hutchinson house. For those of you reading and asking, "are they planning to have more children," our standard answer is, "only the Lord knows." We do not plan to have a Duggar household, but if the Lord brought us another child after this one, we certainly would not be disappointed for, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." (Psalm 127:3) We seek to trust our Creator when He speaks. Spurgeon agrees when commenting on Psalm 127 he says, "He gives children not as a penalty nor as a burden, but as a favor." Spurgeon also adds, "they are 'doubtful blessings' only because we are doubtful persons." After all, does anyone look back after having children and think, "I sure wish little Tommy would not have been born?" Much more could be said on this topic, but I need to return to the intended discussion. What is our "standard" baby naming process?

It all begins when my wife informs me that she is pregnant, and I say something along the lines of, "that's great!" After a few days of wondering if I am nervous or disappointed due to my lack of outward emotional response, she asks, what I'm thinking about the baby. I explain that I am excited and her confidence increases slightly, but she is not yet fully convinced. Over the next few days she plans out how to approach me about the name. Interestingly, I have never been upset or shown anger or any other emotion around this topic that I know of, but she seems to cautiously approach me at first every time. Also, during all this time, I usually haven't thought once about the baby. You may be tempted to think of me as an awful person at this point, but consider my standpoint in thinking that this child will not be born for 9 months, and my interactions with the child will be greatly limited (or non existent) while it grows in mommy's belly. Again, I am only presenting reality and not defending my ways here :).

After the initial discussion between my wife and I is rather fruitless in regards to selecting a name, she begins to email me a list of names every three or four days asking which ones in the list I like. I usually glance at these emails and move on as I receive these while at work on my way to a meeting or while working to resolve a high priority support issue. The problem is that nothing really jumps out to me as the obvious choice nor do I usually see anything I even like. I have come to find out there are a few reasons for this which I expound elsewhere. This "game" continues for some time and I will respond with a few names that seem intriguing to me. Eventually she begins narrowing down her larger list of names shes likes by comparing it with whatever names she has been able to glean from me. This narrowed list usually consists of less than 10 combinations of names, and is often much fewer.

The next step in our process if for my wife to begin putting the names together in first/middle name combinations and typing them so I can see them visually. She also begins bringing in the meanings of the names, which is important as I've noted elsewhere. It is her practice to dive into the meanings of names throughout this process, but once the narrowed list is formed the meanings move to the forefront.

This seems to be when I jump heavily into the process. Granted I do not become immediately deeply focused, but I grow into it. By this point, the names have been filtered by several categories each consisting of certain unspoken rules, which were somewhat unrecognized by us until I began to consider penning this post. My wife usually patiently yet agonizingly waits for me to settle in on something I like so we can discuss further and finalize. This actually takes time for me, though, because the name simply has to grow on me. Finally, we sit down for about a 30 minute period and review the first/middle name combo that seems to have floated to the top of the list. We weigh it one final time together against all of our previously unspoken criteria, and the selection is complete. This procedure probably produces more anguish and excitement in our house than national signing day for college football does for sports fans across the nation, but it has become the Hutchinson family baby naming process. Feel free to utilize this method for your household as it has worked for us five times now, and we have no plans to patent it.

And as for the question noted above about whether we plan to have more children or not, the naming process may prove to be the deciding factor as it wears on my wife, and has become increasingly difficult as there apparently are not too many names that meet our previously unspoken criteria!

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How to name a baby?

Choosing a name for a child has proven to take a long time for us according to my wife. I must admit this is mostly due to my part in the process. It is often brought to my attention (by my wife of course) that many women (if not most) discuss baby names as a childhood game. In reflecting on why I seem to draw this out "forever", I found the reason to be multifaceted. We have now selected a name for our fifth child, and will reveal that shortly, but while we await an opportunity to share this with our parents first, I wanted to provide insight into what goes into selecting the name of a Hutchinson child. In reading this, please remember this is not intended to be a defense of our methods, but is simply intended to reveal our experience and thoughts.

In putting all this together, it turned out to be fairly lengthy so I will break this into several posts over the next few days. This post will serve as the Table of Contents for the other posts and will be updated as each new post is added.