Naming a child is big deal. A name is more than just a way of referencing a person, it is part of an individual's identity. Silly names, and names that lend themselves to ridicule can set a child up for a lifetime of issues simply because a silly easily ridiculed name gives others an easy but personal attack. Just as making fun of someone's nose is personal, making fun of a person's name is equally as personal.
Every name has a meaning. Often when a name becomes popular and acculturated parents stop looking into the meaning of the name at the time of deciding a name. For example, Alexander means "leader of mankind." This was one of the most popular names of the late 90s and only a small percentage of parents have looked it up. This is not unsatisfactory, it is purely a fact.
Looking into the meaning of names takes time, but it is definitely worth it when you are assigning a child a life time identity. Children have very little say in what goes on in their life until they begin to mature. Of course a child never really has a say in their name unless they opt for a nickname. Names that have multiple nickname options are often great relief for kids who do not appreciate their name as it gives the child the ability to change things as they grow. However, not all names will lend themselves to any sort of a nickname.
Often people want to get creative with a name, give the child an unusual identity and let them stand out. This tends to work better with girls than boys. When parents get overly creative with boys' names, the result is often sometimes a little too flowery and the kids at school sooner or later pick him out as a target. While choosing a name should not be based on the behavior of other people, you also do not want to set up someone for a life time of ridicule.
Girls' names carry more latitude simply because there are fewer connotations attached to them. Girls with names that are completely original often carry it well and while they typically go through a period during childhood where they wish for something more "normal," they often grow to appreciate the uniqueness of their name during adolescence or adulthood.
Common names like Aaron, which is Hebrew for mountain or Abbey, which is also Hebrew and means father in rejoicing, often come from other dialects that have been Americanized. When the majority of people who were born in the latter 70 and early 80s were born, name meanings were not really a factor in baby naming. As time has gone on and there has been an overall sense of personal and individual development and individual personality, the meaning behind the names has grown exponentially important.
For boys, distinguished names of history are now making a comeback. Names such as Lincoln and Abraham are becoming increasingly popular because they carry the connotation of firm leadership and strong morals. Abraham means father of a mighty nation and Lincoln means a lake settlement or colony. In this case, most people are more apt to associate the name with the historical figure rather than lakes and settlements.
The trend of naming a child a child after a celebrity is fizzling out. The child will be from a different generation not only as it applies to the celebrity but also as it applies to the parent. Celebrities have a way of drawing sudden and negative attention to themselves by exhibiting poor behavior. It also speaks of a blurred identity and expectation of the parent, especially naming the child after a singer and then placing a microphone in their hand at an early age. Experts recommend naming the child in his or her own identity rather than in the shadow of someone else's.
Choosing and international name is becoming more popular. However, check into meaning beforehand. Some names are based in a negative insult rather than an uplifting spirit. And of course, never let anyone else talk you into naming the baby. While there may be a few hurt feelings when you break from the family tradition of naming the son after the father, a name is too important to succumb to external pressure. It is perfectly acceptable to begin your own family tradition of individuality, starting with your child.