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Years ago, I remember my mother saying that she named her children so that they’d all be called by their first name. Both she and my dad use their middle names as their common names, instead of their first names. The world of legal forms wasn’t set up for people who use their middle names as their common names, and she didn’t want on her children to have all the trouble she’d had.

Hubby has used his middle name for his common name all his life. Electronic forms are not set up for people who do that; consequently, he’s had to fight the system every step of the way. Some places have his common name as his first name, others his middle name, and some his initials. Since he moved to Idaho, he’s known by his first name when we go to doctors’ offices and other places. His first name was his dad’s name so he feels like they are referring to his dad instead of him. It’s not what he’s used to hearing, and it annoys him.

Recently, though, things took a turn for the worse. He couldn’t get a prescription because his insurance card had one version of his name, his doctor’s office another, and his records had another. He spent hours trying to get that mess worked out by proving who he is. He seriously thought of legally changing his name so that his common name was his first name and his first name was his middle name. After more than six decades of his name, he decided he didn’t want to change it. He’s spent the last few weeks contacting everyone from Social Security to his insurance to doctor’s offices and everyone in between to get consistency in his name between all the places he’s listed. It’s been a huge headache for him, but he’s about to conquer the mountain.

My advice to young couples having children: make your child’s first name their common name. That’s it. Name them anything you want. Give them third or fourth name. It doesn’t matter, but please make their common name their first name. Things will go much smoother in the electronic community with the first name and middle initial. You have no idea how many permutations two or three words plus initials can have. It can be very confusing.

Trust me. Your child will thank you for it someday.

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