By Faith M.
I, for one, am very enthusiastic about the recent rise in less common or renewed virtue names for girls, names such as Verity, Mercy, Peace and Amity. And also for the growing trend to give boys virtue names such as Justice, Chance, True and Noble, to name just a few of the many great choices.
The increased popularity and abundance of word names that now classify as unconventional virtue names has made it an appealing option for people looking for something off-beat as an alternative to such traditional names as Faith, Hope, Grace and Constance.
Still, expecting parents might be hesitant to gift their child with a virtue name for several reasons. I think the biggest negative is that a person with a virtue name might be identified by the meaning of their name (e.g. a girl named Patience may be expected to always be patient). Assumptions of this nature might then be feared by parents considering Patience as a possibility, that they might feel awkward hearing their child’s name used as a word in ordinary speech, even if there is some personal significance in their choice. Again using Patience as an example: Perhaps some parents had to wait a long time to conceive a child, so that getting pregnant had become an extended and patience-testing journey for them, ‘patience’ becoming an important virtue for them during that time.
As the bearer of a virtue name, (who happens to adore the meaning and history of it), I must vouch for the genre as a whole. It was my father who picked the classic Faith for me, though the name came to him upon seeing me, and had not been on their list of names. My father chose it, but my mother was concerned that it was too much of an ‘old lady’ name and was a little reluctant to use it out of fear that I might hate it for that reason. But after it was chosen and there was such positive feedback from both sides of the family, she came to view Faith as surprisingly fresh, new and spunky.
Growing up I was continually complimented on my name and was pleased how uncommon it seemed: throughout my childhood, I only encountered three other Faiths. And all the cute little gifts and trinkets bearing my name that were bestowed upon me was another plus in my childish eyes. Family members would give me little bracelets, poems and other such sentimental objects that said Faith on them, as they were not hard to come by. Though there was the occasional reference to the meaning and I was sometimes told to “have faith,” that didn’t diminish the love that I had for my name.
I appreciate the meaning of my name as it constantly reminds me of the importance of the virtue itself, which has greatly impacted my life and steered me onto a course that I might not have followed I not been named Faith.
On the other hand, I never felt that I had to live up to my name by being a very faithful person. I felt more that the meaning was an intrinsic part of me rather than an expectation placed on me. Nor did it bother me or make me feel awkward if someone were to use the word faith in his or her speech. I didn’t even mind the occasional “pun intended” reminder to have faith or keep the faith.
Actually, an uncle of mine so admired the idea of a virtue name that he gave his daughter the name Grace, to honor his mother, whom he thought embodied the grace and beauty of the name’s meaning. I also plan on giving my child a virtue name, having prized the special significance behind my own name.