Let's be real: in this world, the baby will need strength to make it through. No matter who we are and what circumstances we're born into, we face adversity all our lives. When given challenges, we have two choices: we can stop trying or we can be strong, even if we don't feel like we are.
Strength is so much more than muscles and bravado: usually, those who exhibit "strength" that way don't know what it truly is. Real strength involves courage, perseverance, and the will to carry on. Sometimes strength is loud, but oftentimes it is quiet. How we exhibit strength depends on personality and circumstance but we all need to find it within us.
Names have power. What we call ourselves has a strong impact on our psyche and, whether we know it or not, we are shaped by our names a little every day until we become an entirely different person than we had been if named something else.
Although you can't name your kid "Strength" like you might name them Hope or Faith, you can name them something strong to help them experience life with bravery. This article offers 15 names that exude strength in the hopes that your child will, too. Just remember this quote by Stephanie Bennett-Henry: "Life is tough, my darling, but so are you."
Petra is derived from the Greek word for stone, "petros," and is a feminine form of the name Peter. When rocks change, they do so by erosion. Erosion exposes the rock to great tensions through water or rain. Instead of breaking apart, a rock allows the erosion to mold them into something newer and even more sustainable than before.
Not many parents tell their daughter, "I hope you grow up to be like a rock someday," but maybe we should.
Fun fact: the ancient city of Petra, located in the modern country Jordan, contained tombs and temples carved into the sandstone. We know so much about the city today because, since they carved their building into the rock, much more of its architecture remains than that of less durable buildings.
With a name that means "strong like Bamboo," you can't really go wrong. Japanese culture associates with name Takeo with bravery and health. Those named Takeo traditionally held the traits of great warriors, and they were expected to lead others with great emotional and physical strength.
In Japanese culture, a warrior is not defined by his muscles or the number of fights he's won. True warriors garner respect wherever they go.
What this means to him and how he chooses to build that strength is completely up to him. But as you get older and reveal his unique name meaning, you may want to explain to him the different kinds of strength and how he can develop them a little more each day.
Strength isn't just about standing tall when life tries to beat you down. You also have to seek opportunities that will strengthen you and make you closer to the person you want to become someday. The name Emmeline means "industrious," and your baby will need a creative, industrious mindset to fix problems and think of new ways to tackle issues.
Emmeline draws inspiration from the woman's suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. In 1999, Time magazine added Pankhurst into the list of 100 Most Important People of the Twentieth-Century. Despite cultural barriers placed upon women, Pankhurst blazed her trail for human progress and invited other feminists to follow her lead as she shook society into understanding women as they never had before.
Emmeline was a woman of action because she knew that words alone do not invoke change. In hunger strikes, in demonstrations, in inspirational talks, she lived by this mantra: "Deeds, not words, that was to be our personal model."
A daughter named Emmeline will be blessed with strength from infancy to be the one to get social change started and stand up for all people, regardless of who they are and what gender they identify as.
People named Bruce grow up resilient by nature. Few names pack such a punch into one syllable as the name Bruce does. This name possesses a silent strength that doesn't need to boast or oversell its courage. Bruce simply is, and it is one of the hardiest names around.
What kind of person can use the name Bruce without mentioning Bruce Lee, and what better person to name your child in memory of? Lee spent hours every day perfecting his craft and practiced dedication so wholeheartedly that when doctors told him he would never practice martial arts again after a back injury, he put all his energy into proving them wrong and recovered fully.
When hardships come, your son may wish that his life was simpler, but that's not how people grow. If your little Bruce asks you why people have to go through hard things, remind him of this advice by Bruce Lee: "Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one."
Origin: English, Spanish
Nobody is born strong. Strength (especially inner strength) is cultivated over the course of a lifetime, built upon little by little by facing our demons each day. Amelia's name meaning is "work," and work your child must to develop bravery enough to learn from life's challenges.
Amelia Earhart, a famous name-bearer, taught women to steer their own destiny and have the strength to fly where it takes them. As the first female aviator to sail across the Atlantic, she gave women hope that they could also do the impossible. Earhart described her fear as tigers, but only "paper tigers," and she never let her fear get in the way of something that she could do.
We need more Amelias out there encouraging all of us to stop hiding in the shadows and fly, even if we don't know where it will take us.
English in origin, Harvey comes from the Breton name Haervieu, or "battle-worthy." In the sixth-century, the blind hermit Harvieu led others into light through his vivid inner spirituality. Harvey was a popular name for boys in the Middle Ages; unlike children of knights and Crusaders, your Harvey may not need a sword to fight his battles, but he'll still need some kind of strength.
If you or an older sibling were alive in the 1970s, you remember the politician and LGBT activist Harvey Milk. Milk faced great discrimination as the first openly gay politician in the United States, when he was elected to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. Despite his fears, he never backed down and fought every day for equality and respect.
"Hope will never be silent." When Harvey Milk said this, he spoke calling those who felt they didn't have voices to make themselves heard for the better of society. A child growing up now needs the strength to speak up for human decency and kindness. If not them, then who?
Can a name that sounds so much like the holiday of love really be that strong? The answer is a resounding yes! Love is one of the greatest strengths there is; acts made in love often show the most bravery. Deriving from the Latin word "valens," Valentina means, "Healthy and strong."
In 1963, twenty-six year old Valentina Tershkova became the first woman in space. Orbiting the earth forty-eight times total, Tershkova beat the previous records of all former astronauts, male or female. Before her, all the others had only orbited thirty-six times combined.
When little kids are asked what they want to be some day, "astronaut" is usually one of the first answers. If your little Valentina wants to work for NASA or be the first woman on Mars, remind her of her namesake. She will know that of course, anything is achievable, but she can only get there through work and strength.
Niall, the Gaelic name Neil derived from, meant "champion." Although scholars dispute its origin, some believe the name comes from the semi-legendary Irish king Niall of the Nine Hostages. Viking raiders and settlers adopted the name which, once the Normans picked it up during the Middle Ages, became what we now call "Neil."
If you want your baby boy to have a strong name and, like mothers-to-be of Valentinas, look to the stars for inspiration, consider the name Neil. Although we now look at the moon landing as one of the greatest scientific accomplishments, Neil Armstrong didn't know whether he'd return to Earth again once his rocket lifted off. Yet through him, we as humankind took one small step and one giant leap together.
In the next century, mankind very well may travel to Mars or other unexplored parts of the solar system. Whether your son watches from home or he sees the beauty of the stars from outer space, the name Neil will give him someone to look up to as a source of bravery and strength even in times of uncertainty.
Origin: German, Old Norse
Frida derives from the Old Norse name "Frið̠r," which means "beloved" or "peaceful." As mentioned earlier, love can be a source of strength or it can be strength manifested through compassionate acts. Peace, too, results from a quiet strength that sets differences asides and seeks communion between humanity as a whole.
Strong people aren't exempt from feeling pain or loss; adversity, in fact, is often what prods us to develop strength so that we can overcome hard things. Frieda Kahlo is an artist who experienced suffering during her life; though she wanted children, a bus accident early in life left her crippled and unable to conceive. Rather than letting her pain consume her, she took her sorrow to the canvas and painted masterpieces.
Your child may not just have to face external hardships. Some of the battles that will tear them apart the easiest will be those where their turmoil comes from inside. Naming your child Frida sets them up with the strength to transform their pain into beauty.
Once an English surname, Winston derives from the Old English name Wynnstan, which means "joy" and "stone." The name is reminiscent of Petra with a similar call to the steadfast nature of rocks, but the addition of "joy" reminds its bearer to seek happiness even when times feel unbearably dark.
Speaking of dark times, British prime minister Winston Churchill was a famous name-bearer who worked to bring goodness a world where darkness sometimes felt inescapable. His inspirational speeches brought British listeners through bleak years and encouraged them to "never, never, never give up."
With a boy named Winston around, the future is in strong and joyful hands. We need that balance.
Stemming from the Greek name Μαρια, or "Maria," Marie is speculated to mean "beloved" or "my love" most often by scholars, but theories range as varied as "sea of bitterness" to "wished-for child."
Of all the forms that strength takes, knowledge is one of the most powerful because it moves others, like strength to make cultural change, along. Marie Curie, a French scientist and two-time winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, knew that the strength of knowledge lied in using it to create social progress. Through her discoveries, she equipped World War I ambulances with x-rays and drove to the front lines herself to examine patients.
Maybe your Marie will grow up to be a scientist, or maybe she'll find another way to strengthen those around her with knowledge. Whoever she becomes, she will have a tremendous role model to lead her path.
Origin: Latin, German
A variant of the Latin name Martinus, whose own roots stem from the Roman god of war Mars, historical Martins have been people who shake the Earth and leave it turned upside-down in the best of ways. They observe their societal norms, see the inequality, and cannot stand to live in a world where discrimination is the social norm. Martins find strength to dedicate their life in pursuit of changing society for the better.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was last Monday, marking what would have approximately been the nonviolent Civil Rights activist's 98th birthday. He taught us that people with the greatest strength are not always those who fight with their hands. Those who use their words and their actions to stand for a tomorrow they believe in change lives.
If you're looking for your baby's role model, you can't find better shoes to walk in than those of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Origin: Latin, Italian
From the Latin word for "flourishing," florens, most travelers think of the Tuscan city of the arts when they hear the name Florence. Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence represents its city through the Biblical character David, who slew the giant Goliath despite great odds against him.
Florence Nightingale is another brave Florence who improved the quality of nursing hospitals in the nineteenth-century. Another example of strength in knowledge, she continues to save lives through her book "Notes on Nursing," which clinicians still refer to as a golden standard for medical care.
If you want your daughter to remember that strength lies in your character rather than your body, consider the name Florence.
Origin: English, Danish
Vincent means "to conquer," and those who bear this name always do: whether they conquer the challenges life gives them, societal barriers placed on their shoulders, or their own inner demons, they radiate with an attitude of strength to try again, and again, and again.
Famous Vincents include Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, who was no stranger to hardship. He spent his life engaged in emotional battles that challenged him deeply. If he hadn't had the strength to express his inner anguish in paint, we'd never get the pleasure of enjoying his artistic eye for beauty.
A child name Vincent grows up with the understanding that when difficult circumstances come, he can be strong channel his pain into something positive, too.
Joan is the English version of the French Johanna, a name that means "gracious." The most famous bearer of the name is without a doubt Joan of Arc, one of the strongest women in recorded history. Although some called her mad or blasphemous for leading a military and donning men's armor to fight, she felt that spiritually, she was doing the right thing.
One of the greatest strengths you might teach your child is moral strength, or the strength to stand by your values no matter what. Unlike Joan, your daughter will never be burned at the stake for what she believes in, but she might be teased at times or told that she is stupid or wrong. With Joan in mind, she will be able to stick to her heart no matter what the world says. Nothing's stronger than that.