This month, I finally finalised my and #JasperBean’s name change by Deed Poll. Why did we change our name?
I continued to use my maiden name after I got married and #JasperBean took his father’s name. We had long discussed a name change even before we got married, but never went ahead with it until now. The reason behind it? (Disclaimer: No disrespect to hubby’s surname or anyone with the same last name).
We did this for our son to escape prejudice in an increasing intolerant and critical world. He starts school next year and we would like to think, like all other loving parents, we just want the best start for him. Both S and I have had our fair share of name callings and playground bullying, but we were strong enough to stand up to them. Or just ignored them. And I trust #JasperBean will be strong enough too. But still why did we go ahead with the name change? Back then, we didn’t live in a world where every childish indiscretion is tagged and digitalised in photos and tweets.
Now, I understand, I’m not that naive to think that a name change will shield him from all forms of bullying. You might even think, I’m just being a coward and masking the problem instead of standing up to it. Am I being too reactive? Well, I’m definitely not going to sit around and wait for something to happen first.
Remember the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”. This may have been a great comeback for insults and taunts, but statistics from Ditch The Label 2017 showed that between 2016-2017, 1.5 million young people in the UK experienced bullying. Of the 10,000 12-20 year olds that participated in their survey, 24% had suicidal thoughts, 23% self harmed and 36% developed depression amongst a list of other things that I wouldn’t want to see any child go through. With cyberbullying, the stats are even higher. If you want to find out more, you can download the full report from here.
Proverbs 15:4“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
So although I know a name change will not change the facts, our names are also our identities and I want #JasperBean to have a name that empowers him rather than see it as something that can be used for fun or against him. Our name is a crucial factor in developing our sense of selfand shapes our identity.
85,000 people changed their name in the UK in 2016 and the number is going up.
To those who think names are “sacred” and that I’m disowning his paternal lineage. He will continue to use his father’s last name in Chinese, so we are not ditching his ancestry. Think of it as a 2018 English version update. You may or may not agree with me, but we definitely don’t regret it. And as long as my boy continues to smile and thrive, that is all that matters to me and S.
However, if there ever comes a time when #JasperBean hates his new name or bashes us for changing his life, I’ll let him have his say. 😛