Why have a humanist naming? A time to reflect

Non-religious ceremonies are on the rise, but why? What is the value of a ceremony like a naming, funeral, or wedding without a religious element? The answer is maybe more than you think.

This is the second of a series of thoughts on the psychological and social role of humanist naming ceremonies. The benefits to a ceremony that remain, or can even be enhanced, when you remove the religious content. For the first post, and the first reason why, click here.

Couple at a table hold hands and talk.

Couple at a table hold hands and talk.

The second benefit of humanist namings is reflection. Time to reflect is not a high priority when caring for a new baby. Keeping the child safe, fed, clean and so on takes over. Yet parenthood raises deep questions and taking time to think about them is a good idea.

For example, what are the most important values you want to teach your child? What about the way you're going to raise your child, what examples will you set? How will you teach your child to navigate life's challenges? What will you show them about their place in the world? If this is not your first child, what does it mean for your family to have a new addition? If you have a partner have you discussed these questions?  

A naming ceremony is a prompt to speak about what having a child means to you and what kind of parent you want to be. It can be a chance to talk more to older siblings about what the new arrival means for them. To be able to do this you have to reflect on the subject and talk it through with your partner, if you have one, as well as wider family and other people involved. Without the ceremony, that reflection and discussion may or may not take place. When it does it can be invaluable.

 A ceremony can help to promote mutual understanding about your ideas for the future. It can set you up as a parenting team with a common philosophy, which you might otherwise never discuss until something happens that you disagree about. Having these conversations early in your child's life can reduce tension down the line. That's got to be a good thing.