Most Popular Names For Boys And Girls

It’s been a slack season for hard news recently, since politicians, pundits, and journalists are taking a break, leaving subs, interns, and office juniors to put papers together by creating news out of nothing at all - rather like reality TV. That’s why even the Daily Telegraph today has articles such as Low fat diet could kill you, major study shows”, “The modern guide to first date dressing”, “The 10 best beaches in Wales”, and even “Bobbies on the beat: the internet’s best videos of dancing policemen”! Move along now, nothing to see here!

And yet - you read them, don’t you, when you’re desperate for diversion? You’ll even stoop as low as “Most popular names for boys and girls in 2017 so far.” Come on, you want to know, don’t you?

I’ll just whet your appetite with the top three. Boys: Noah, Harry, Oliver. Girls: Isabella, Olivia, Emma. Fascinating stuff, eh?

Hang on a minute, here’s a similar article from another source. Top three names for boys: Asher, Atticus, Jack; for girls: Olivia, Amelia, Charlotte! Let’s try another one. Boys: Oliver, Jack, Harry; girls: Amelia, Olivia, Isla!

Reliable reporting? It sounds as though all of these articles were written by correspondents based in Hebden Bridge, who simply wrote down the names of their nearest neighbours’ children. You know the ones I mean, the curly-headed moppets who look like they were ordered from the Gap catalogue instead of being born in the usual way. Still, they generally look as though their parents care for them.

I see no mention of the most popular name given to children in this area. It must be following the latest fashion for gender-neutral names, since it’s used for both boys and girls. I hear it every day, and yet I’ve never seen it written down, so I’m guessing at the spelling: Geddeer! - with the accent falling heavily on the first syllable. It’s usually said emphatically, or shouted, in the tone of voice that you would associate with admonishing a young pit bull cross breed.

Read that last paragraph again, if you didn’t get it first time round.

Psalm 127.3: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” And so they should be treated.

Sometimes it’s worse. In Padiham, on an errand, I walked past a woman pushing a small child in an expensive pram. Another child, a little girl, walked several steps behind her. As she passed a rusty metal grille protecting the window of an empty shop, the little girl raised her hand and ran it along, rattling the wires. Her mother turned and screamed, “If you do that again you little ******, I’ll ******* well batter you!”

Matthew 18.5-6: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Yes, I know that our Lord is referring to His disciples, as they follow Him with child-like dependence upon Him for all that they cannot provide for themselves. But the very use of such an analogy, along with Matthew 19.13-15, should make us sure that there is a special place in His heart for the young and the vulnerable. And so there should be in ours.

What, no mention of handkerchiefs and tears today? In Padiham, you can take them as read.