Bethany Sanders: Watching "Glee" recently, I couldn't have been more thrilled when Puck chose the Kiss song "Beth" to sing to Quinn, telling her that he hoped she'd choose the name for their baby. It was a heartfelt moment on one of TV's biggest shows -- meaning that there's a good chance that soon there will be a whole new generation of Beth's running around.
Pop culture has a big impact on baby names. The "Twilight"-inspired monikers Isabella and Jacob were the number-one baby names in 2009, and Cullen (as in Edward) was on the rise. Lindsay, on the other hand, finds itself falling fast -- perhaps in reaction to Lindsay Lohan's personal (yet unfortunately very public) problems. In 2002, when I was pregnant with my firstborn who I planned to name Emma, I was furious when "Friends" character Rachel Green picked the same name for her baby. Emma is still at number two on the popular-baby-names list. (I chose a different name for my firstborn.)
But as a recent CNN article pointed out, even today's popular baby names aren't nearly as common as they were in the past. There are a lot fewer Isabellas in 2010 than there were Marys in 1960 -- about half as many, in fact. That's because parents today often look to unique names that will make their kids stand out, possibly due to another pop-culture trend started by celebrity baby names such as Apple, Maddox, Banjo and Moxie Crimefighter.
Several studies have linked a child's name with his or her future success, reports CNN. According to one, girls named Georgia or Virginia are 44 percent more likely to end up living in those states, for instance; another study found that kids whose names start with a "C" or "D" are more likely to earn those grades on their report cards. Parents worry that too-unique names will mean bullying at recess, but after a quick poll of female Facebook friends, I found that it's my more uniquely named friends who grew up to really love their names.
Naming babies is a big responsibility, which is why concerned parents think not only about their little bundle of joy, but also about the adult they'll eventually become. Both of my girls ended up being named after grandmothers and great-grandmothers -- a choice I've never regretted.
Do you think names help to shape a person's life? Or is a name just a name?