Do you imagine great things for your children? Of course you do. Your little darling is going to make history, be famous and probably save the planet.
How about if they were brave and heroic adventurers? Marvellous. But unless you have given them the right name, you’ve blown it already.
You see, this week I was working on a story about Birdie Bowers – the fifth member of Scott’s doomed Antarctic expedition. Birdie was born in Greenock and it’s almost exactly 100 years since the Terra Nova expedition shuddered to an icy conclusion.
But reading about Bowers and his colleagues I was struck by something significant. The names. OK, Birdie isn’t the most heroic of monikers, but then he wasn’t the leader or the inspiration behind the venture.
The big cheese of the expedition was Robert Falcon Scott. I’ll bet he wouldn’t have got past Southampton, let alone the South Pole, if he was Robert Sparrow Scott. He was joined by Lawrence – I’m Going Outside I Might Be Some Time – Oates, who was known as Titus. Another in the support team was Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Names to follow into the unknown.
And casting around at others embued with a spirit of derring do. Bear Grylls wouldn’t be a compelling leader if he was called Nigel or Barry. Ranulph Twisledon-Wykeham-Fiennes might not have climbed so many mountains with the name Roger stuck to his crampons. Ray Mears cuts it as survival expert because the whole thing works together – Raymears. You wouldn’t catch Ronald Mears drinking the still-warm blood of a dead thing. Ok John isn’t a good start for Blashford-Snell, but Blashers, as he’s known, works a treat.
As an aside, Mr Grylls clearly knows the power of a name – his children are called Jessie, Marmaduke and Huckleberry.
Then take to the seas and meet Chay Blyth, Thor Heyerdahl, and, of course, Dame Ellen MacArthur. It’s all in the name, you see.
This is all very well if are considering the name of your offspring – I’m looking at you Super Sister – but what if you’ve already got little Amys, Johns, Sophies and Jacks?
And what about you? Is something holding you back? It’s clearly your name – ditch Susan, Sarah and Samantha for something much more swashbuckling. And do it soon. Dave, Derek and Daniel, you need something much more fearsome and eyebrow raising.
Let me know what you call your pioneer persona.
Meantime, the video is my youngest son Velociraptor showing his potential.