Sunday, March 1, 2009

And the Name is...

As you may or may not have surmised, I am the one who loves the name Jesse for a boy. My wife, in a state of wild delusion, believes the name to be gender neutral. Apparently, when stating our children’s names, Sabrina, Ann Marie, Lauren and (potentially) Jesse – she didn’t want to explain which one is a boy. Never mind that it’s highly unlikely Sabrina, Ann or Lauren would be mistaken as boy names. Now, I do understand how the name came to be “gender neutral” – nickname for Jessica, or an outright name (as a side note, “Jessie” was a much more popular name for girls before 1900 than “Jesse” was for boys). That’s OK, I understand that. I honestly don’t care what the perception of the name is – I like it. However, my wife and I are partners and there needs to be a “meeting of the minds”. So, the name Jesse has been sacrificed on the altar of marital harmony. May it rest in peace.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that there was some sort of heated arguments and strife involved in this decision. There wasn’t. Disagreements—yes. However, the majority of our discussions about what to name our children have usually involved me making up the stupidest sounding name possible, laughing and then stopping as my wife gives me that “that’s not funny” look. Apparently, naming your kids is serious business. Although on another side note, read the chapter of the book
Freakonomics on kids with silly names—very interesting stuff.

We like to give our children family names. We don’t know if we will have another boy, so for Stephanie and I the name is important (despite my jokes). In the last book of the Old Testament in the book of Malachi, Malachi talks about the coming of the prophet Elijah and states, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”. While Jews might not agree with me, I believe Elijah has come and that this prophecy is being met today. Family History and Genealogy is one of the most searched items on the Internet. People find meaning and personal pride in their roots.

I never had a desire to live in Las Vegas. However, with Camille’s passing and through reading biographies of my immediate ancestors I have felt a much deeper tie to the Las Vegas valley. My paternal grandfather, William Noble Waite, was born and raised in the Bunkerville area. The first Waite to join the Mormon church joined in England in 1848 (who incidentally was at an 1853 church conference with one of Stephanie’s ancestors). The Waites (along with some of my other ancestors: Leavitts, Gibbons and Huntsmans) eventually were sent by Brigham Young to settle first Southern Utah and then Southern Nevada. The Waites were poor – as in dirt poor. Jesse was my great grandfather and was a farmer. His story is fairly unremarkable and similar to thousands of others in that area – poor but an abiding faith in God and His gospel.  

As a young man, I always wanted to leave my city and achieve great things, success and fame. However, as I have grown older and wiser I have come to respect the hard work and humility of the farmers, miners, school teachers and others who work their whole life in anonymity and instill in their children a love of God, a love of others and a great work ethic. Jesse Waite was one of those – not a perfect man, but a good, solid example for his progenitors.

In our “meeting of the minds”, we do like the name Morgan Noble Waite for peanut. Barring some unforeseen circumstance, that is what we plan on naming him. Morgan is Stephanie’s dad’s name. Never mind how gender neutral Morgan is for a boy—marital harmony people, marital harmony. Also, since there are many Morgans in Stephanie’s family, we’ll call him Noble. Back to the point: my father-in-law is a great man. He reminds me a lot of those characteristics that I was just talking about – and he grew up on a farm. He went on to get a law degree and was the Public Defender for Las Vegas for over 30 years. One of Stephanie’s reasons for wanting to use the name Morgan as part of peanut's name is that her father was the 5th child after four girls. 

Noble is after my grandfather, William Noble Waite (he went by “Noble”). My uncle just finished writing a biography on him and it is fascinating. In his work life, he was a school teacher and high school principal in Southern California. In his church life, he was incredible and accomplished great things. He was a stake president, mission president and was in charge of raising money for the Los Angeles Temple and BYU. I guess the theme between the two is that they both came from those humble beginnings with rather humble fathers (in money and spirit) that went on to achieve great things.

So thank you all to participating in our mental exercise. It was not all in vain. It helped us (well OK, mainly Stephanie) to make her decision. Another thing: I know it sounds like I’m playing the martyr but that’s just me having fun with the situation. For me, it has been fun reading and learning about my roots. More importantly, I have a more profound appreciation of the kind of people my ancestors were. Many of your ancestors were probably of the same ilk. They were the backbone of their society and the building blocks of who we are. We owe them the respect they deserve.

42 comments:

Jennie said...

I love the name Morgan. In fact I have a Morgan, myself. (Although my my Morgan is a girl-it's a great name either way!) I think it is a strong sounding name- especially with Noble. Congrats on choosing a name- and best wishes with the remainder of the pregnancy.

Jody said...

Honestly, I think Morgan is more gender neutral than Jesse.

Angie said...

Sorry, but when I hear Morgan, I instantly think girl too. I have never known a boy Morgan. BUT you plan on calling him Noble, which I have never heard before but I LOVE.

lauren said...

Same thought here...Morgan sounds wayyyy more like a girl than Jesse.

mckenna said...

No one's opinions on what you choose to name your child truly matters, although I'm sure you know that. But regardless of what I think of the name, I LOVE your reasons for it! I chose family names for my children as well and I can't wait (as they get older and can understand) to teach them the reasons for their names. P.S. Jonathan, because Stephanie played the "gender neutral" card with a name you liked, you really deserve to play up the martyrdom with this name!! :)

kathryn_m said...

Thnx for your post, Jon. I liked reading a bit about your roots. It's awesome that you were able to ascertain that you both had ancestors at the same conference!

As I was reading through, I expected the name Harris :-)

We wanted names that were uncommon without being weird. Each of our 4 children carries a family name. In addition, both sons have my maiden name (MacKenzie) as their 3rd name in honor of my deceased father.

You have gifted your son with a strong & distinguised name. I can imagine Noble's pride upon hearing his history.

Congratulations to you all.

(p.s. - According to the word verification, you should name him Harvey! haha)

OneFitLady said...

Congrats on deciding on a name. It is such a hard decision...all 5 of our kids were named after A LOT of thought and prayer. They also all carry a family name. Morgan must be gaining popularity for boys...a family in our ward has a one year old son named Morgan. I love the decision to call him Noble. That is a great strong name and heritage. Good luck with everything.
P.S. We live in Logandale and are surrounded by your relatives. Tons of Waite's here!

Judy said...

Don't underestimate how amazing a farmer is still for our society for today.

Bill, Angela, Ryan and Sierra said...

your little comments crack me up , Jon. love the name Noble! he will be a lucky man to be part of your fmaily!

Susy said...

They are all beautiful names...

Stacey said...

Congratulations! The name is beautiful. My children all have family names and we, too, put much thought into each one. I feel more connected to our ancestors because of my children. I think calling him Noble is such a grand idea. :)

Anonymous said...

I really liked Jesse better. I don't know a Morgan that is a boy...but I have 2 girls named Morgan that are my nieces. (maybe I just don't many people) And I'm not sure about Noble....

Just me! said...

I think Jesse should be re-evaluated! Way cute!

Bacardi Mama said...

I think it is a strong, classy name. No matter which name you go by, it's a good one. Don't let other people make you second guess yourself.

Jonathan Waite said...

ummm... well thanks for the comments. I put up the post as an explanation. But when it comes down to it, I'm not asking for people to vote on the name. While I preferred Jesse, my grandfather Noble and my father-in-law Morgan are very special people and they MAKE their (respective) names. Maybe that's why some people by their actions can ruin a name for you. No matter what you might think of how a name sounds, your esteem for an individual can make (or break) that name for you. These two men are very highly regarded by me, so the name has grown on me. I would appreciate your respect for people that mean a lot to me (regardless of what we think of the sound of the name).

cynphil6 said...

John,
I must have my say... I FIRMLY believe that the daddy should be able to name the boy! Especially in your case, where it may be the only one. If you like Jesse, name him Noble Jesse, or Jesse Noble...
Whatever you want. Also, we named our daughter Rebecca Alece but called her Alece. She decided in 7th grade that she hated Alece, and
insisted she be called Rebecca from then on... Also, lots of girls have two middle names, why not a boy! Our Lauren is Lauren Elizabeth Ewa. (Elizabeth softens the Ewa) Anyway. That is my two cents worth.
Love you all!

Lindsay said...

Just have to say that I love it. Morgan has ALWAYS been a boy name to me (maybe because I grew up knowing your dad, Stephanie). For those that said they have never heard Morgan as a boy's name, have you never read or at least watched the Anne of Green Gables series? there happens to be a character (Anne Shirley's love interest for a time) named Morgan, actually Morgan Harris, too. If you have never had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie's dad, at least you could have one reference to a distinguished and obviously male Morgan.

Roxanne said...

I like the name you have chosen very much. It was interesting to read your family history about the Bunkerville area. My neighbor here in St. George was raised in Bunkerville and talks of his grandfather Dudley Leavitt in family history class. Small world.

Jonathan Waite said...

Roxanne - Dudley Leavitt was my great-great grandfather (the father of Jesse's wife). He was an incredible man -- lots of good stories indeed.

Alisha said...

I never knew Morgan could be a boy's name. But I like that you're doing a family thing. =)

Carolyn said...

Morgan Noble... I love it! I so look forward to meeting him and holding that little bundle in my arms! And snuggling him.

Who knew people could be so opinionated about how someone else should name or what they should name their child! Go figure.

kathryn_m said...

Jonathon:

You and my hubby are like-minded on this topic. He has always maintained that people not only grow into their name but they also make it .. or break it.

I had shared in another post about how we were either going to name our first son Shane or Shawn. However, I was expecting him to have blonde hair and pink cheeks like his sister.

When he was born with a mop of jet black hair and a rudy complexion, it was like he had a toe-tag that said Matthew - in bold letters. However, we stuck to our guns and named him Shane and today I can't even fathom him be called Matthew.

As an aside, I am surprised that no one has mentioned Morgan Freeman - one of my favorite actors.

As you correctly noted, your son's name is not for us to vote on but, like another poster, I also admire the process of choosing it.

(I get such a kick out of some of these word verifications - this one is "fiancer" -- surely that's a message for you to send me some money! haha)

Adam and Megan's Mom said...

It is a very regal sounding name which I LOVE! I've never heard of Noble before but knowing the history, I love it all the more!

And the only "Morgan" I 'know' is Morgan Freeman and he's amazing!

Blessings to you and your family!

Robin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shanan said...

I absolutely love the name!

Katie Price said...

I think both Morgan and Noble are beautiful names. Especially after what your family has been through. I know you're not asking for opinions, but I just wanted to tell you I think Noble is especially fitting. We are in the process of choosing a name for our next little boy (due in three weeks) and we have had many disagreements. I tell everyone I don't really care if they don't like it, it's going to be my baby and they better love him! Any name will be perfect. I'm betting he is a real special little spirit that is coming into your home.

Anonymous said...

I for some time now have been reading your blog, and by doing so have found so much about myself that I did not realize, but felt. I am a mother of two adorable children who came to me from a birth mother unable to care for them, and as we finalized our family, we quickly took the next step in giving our children famiy names. We felt that this would be one way they could feel connected, and grounded to our family. Our daughters' middle name comes after a niece who has seen many trials, and has rose to be amazing in her testimony and faith (something we hope for a girl whom has seen much in her young life) and our son who's middle name is also my husbands but also comes from a great uncle who faced many trials during pioneer times. Our families however have made several stabs at giving such middle names to these children. Commetns we have heard have been as bold as- why take such measurements to have a family and then give them a name so emberassing, to giggles and laughs behind and infront of us. But as a husband and wife who try to rely on the promptings of a loving Father in Heaven, and believe that the names we have given our children were the names they were to have. I say name your child the name you feel he should carry with him upon this life and the life hereafter. You will not lead him astray, you love him and want what is best for him. Send the naysayers off to name their own babies, and enjoy the right you posses of being this babies parent and having the authority to choose the name/names of your own liking. And on another note, my great great grandfather was Dudley Leavitt from Bunkerville, and I find myself wondering if we are related somehow, and if so I marvel the small world we live in where family can help one another without even a knowledge of it. Thank you so much for your willingness to let strangers read your story, and learn from your trials how to better deal with our own.

Judy said...

I have been reading your blog for quite some time - I grew up in Las Vegas. When I first started reading I thought Stephanie looked very familiar, but figured maybe I was nuts! Until I saw a picture with her dad in it! I knew him!! from Church growing up! After reading your comments I had to giggle my maiden name is Leavitt from Dudley! All of my family is from Bunkerville, Logandale, St.George etc.. What a small world! I LOVE family names - everyone of my 4 kids have a family name!! I love the name Morgan Noble and I think it is great for kids to know their heratige! My oldest daughter is named after my Grandma Leavitt and even though she passed before Brittan was born she knows so much about her! She loves to hear stories and learn all about her because her middle name came from her!

Brittany and her 5S's said...

I love the family heritage thats helped you choose your sons name. People for some reason always feel they have the right to comment on what others name their kids. My oldest son's name is Slade, it was a name I adored and loved from before I even know I would be blessed with a son. His name totally fits him, I can't imagine him being anyone else! My 2nd son's name is Soren. I recently had people tell me that they liked Soren's name but they don't like Slades name at all... I was in shock that someone could be so rude. I've since re thought my stance and realize that I will always love my boy's names and I chose them so they would not be one of many in their classes and jobs throughout their lives.
So I say Pfft to all those thoughtless people who give unasked for opinions.. your son will always have a great history to his name, and to me, thats worth alot!

Brimaca said...

For a minute when you started to talk about Malachi that's what I thought you were going to say and I was excited! :) My son's name is Malachi. His middle name is a family name - named after five ancestors - men and women.

I love the name Noble. Very cute. I'll love seeing pics of him on here when he is born!

Jonathan Waite said...

Brimaca,
I like the name Malachi because of its meaning. I actually looked that one up when researching names. It means "my messenger" or "my angel" -- I thought it would have been great given our circumstance but we ultimately decided on a family name instead.

AMY and steven said...

My husband and I have been following your blog for some time now. Often wondering how we might be related as I come from the Bunkerville Waites also. After reading your post about choosing a name we were able to make a few connections. Your Great Grandfather Jesse and my Great Grandfather Herb Waite were brothers...small world...

Anonymous said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE family names! I think that it ties you to the past and think of the proud relative that your son will be named after! I have given my boys family names too. I have a Grey, which is my husbands great, great grandmother's maiden name. My littlest boy is Chad Joel, after both his grandpa's and we just call him CJ. Naming children is so hard but I think your choices are great. And they are special to your family!

Plain Jame said...

Love the name! I'm 23 weeks along with my first boy and I'm totally stumped for a name. We learned with the first child that almost everyone has an opinion on names... it can be SO annoying - to say the least!

We named both of our girls with family ties. It may sound weird, but we actually prayed to see if they had a "preference" on what their names were to be. Without getting too personal, it was a neat and spiritual experience both times.

Anonymous said...

Well done Stephanie and Jon!

Have a happy week.

Love to you,

Jane

Laura said...

My 20 year old son's name is Morgan. I have always loved the name for a boy. Over the years, his friends have morphed it into MO, but he will always be Morgan to me. Congratulations!

James and Sarah Narramore said...

I just absolutely love the name!! He will be an amazing little boy and such a great spirit to your family! My uncle and aunt's son has the middle name noble. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I do have to say that I loved all of the names you had thrown out there. Jesse and Malachi! I'll have to borrow the names when I have a son!

Marie said...

My husband does the same thing and teases me with such names as Angus, Cecil Asbestus and Nitron. Sometimes I don't know if he's joking, but we've agreed on our names thus far.

Amy M from Iowa said...

My son has Noble on his spelling list this week. Great choice.

Xazmin said...

I think Morgan Noble is such a neat name, especially given the meaning behind choosing that name combination. I do love the name Jesse, but I can't use it because I do have a girl cousing named Jessie! But I like it for a boy!

Adam & Brandi said...

Hi Stephanie and Jon, I get on and check your blog every few months or so and decided to leave a comment today. My last name is Noble, so of course I think it's a wonderful name! ;) And my sister-in-law's name is Morgan Noble!!! How funny is that!? But I think that using Morgan as a boy name is just awesome! I actually am pregnant with our first and we are expecting a little girl. I am 6 months now and finding that perfect name is one of the hardest things to do ever! We too want to use family names, but I don't want them to sound old, if you know what I mean?! So we are in a little pickle. Sorry for never commenting but feel free to check us out on our family blog. (If you are interested.) I am sure you have plenty of other things you could be doing than checking out some strangers blog. hehe But you are welcomed!

Angela said...

What ever you name that beautiful little boy, he will become his name, either way its what you two decide together that matters!