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Top 10 Naming Ceremony Readings

Posted by Hannah Osmond on Monday 4th December 2017
Top 10 Naming Ceremony Readings

With a dizzying array of Naming Ceremony reading suggestions on the internet, this task can become overwhelming. Before you trawl through websites, think about what you are trying to achieve?

A Celebrant-Led Naming Ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the birth of your child, acknowledge people that will play an important role in their life, and bestow good wishes upon them for their future. Oh, and eat a lot of cake. That is essential. 

Choose readings that best represent you as a family…

Don’t be tempted into selecting readings you think you should choose (or that you think Great-Granny would like to hear). The readings should reflect your values, your ethos and your beliefs – whatever they may be.

If you don’t ascribe to a particular faith don’t worry; there are plenty of secular options to choose from. However, if including a scriptural passage is important to you, make sure it becomes part of the day. An Independent Celebrant will happily incorporate readings from any religion or none. 

Laughter, tears, and everything in between...    

It’s likely, (almost guaranteed in-fact), that parts of the Naming Ceremony, will stir strong emotions. A reading can be opportunity to throw in some humour. This poem by Maryann K Cusimano, is great fun, and lines 15 & 16 can be removed, if preferred.

I am your parent you are my child,
I am your quiet place, you are my wild,
I am your calm face, you are my giggle,
I am your wait, you are my wiggle,
I am your audience, you are my clown,
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down,
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice,
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish,
I am your water wings, you are my deep,
I am your open arms, you are my running leap,
I am your way home, you are my new path,
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath,
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake,
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake,
I am your finish line, you are my race,
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines,
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine,
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo,
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you.

‘The Cat in the Hat’, fans should check out ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’, by Dr. Seuss. You can hear it read aloud here. (Oh, and if you’ve not tied the knot yet, this can also make a fab wedding reading! See text below.)

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care.

About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,

you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down.

In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew.

Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.

You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.

Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?

How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start into race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go!

There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot 

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left 

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray,

 or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea,

you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Lyrics from songs...

Readings don’t have to be poems or passages from well-known books. They can be lyrics from favourite songs, or quotes from TV shows, or films.

Be influenced by your own interests and passions.  

Get creative…

It can of course, be something you have penned yourself. The idea of writing something can bring people out in a cold sweat, but your Celebrant, will be on hand to offer support, so do give it a go. 

An easy win is to adapt an existing text and make it personal. For example, the ‘Us Two’ (extract from ‘Now We Are Six’), by A.A. Milne, could be re-worked to include your son/daughter’s name instead of ‘Pooh’. You’ll need to come up with some rhyming words as well, but assuming you haven’t named your baby Zebedee or Amaryllis, you should be fine. For the original see here.

Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh:
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let's go together," says Pooh.

"What's twice eleven?" I said to Pooh.
("Twice what?" said Pooh to Me.)
"I think it ought to be twenty-two."
"Just what I think myself," said Pooh.
"It wasn't an easy sum to do,
But that's what it is," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what it is," said Pooh.

"Let's look for dragons," I said to Pooh.
"Yes, let's," said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
"Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh.
"As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
That's what they are," said Pooh, said he.
"That's what they are," said Pooh.

"Let's frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh.
"That's right," said Pooh to Me.
"I'm not afraid," I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted "Shoo!
Silly old dragons!"- and off they flew.

"I wasn't afraid," said Pooh, said he,
"I'm never afraid with you." 

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
"If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said: "True,
It isn't much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. "That's how it is," says Pooh. 

Or you might like to try creating an acrostic poem. Quick and easy if your child is Ted or Flo, slightly more arduous if your little darling is Alessandro, or Persephone. For some examples visit www.acrosticnamepoems.com, and good luck!

Ask other people…

If you have a budding writer in the family, see if they can help.

Maybe parents remember a story, or poem, that you yourself loved as a child. This could be perfect to use, so it’s always worth an ask.

Finding the time…

Ah, yes. If you’re planning a Naming Ceremony, you’re probably reading this through bleary, sleep-deprived eyes. You’re already a multitasking ninja, and were hoping I was going to make this easy for you, right?!

Well, okay then. I did call this blog the Top 10 Naming Ceremony Readings so here’s ten of my favourites, just for you….

1. ‘I Loved You from the Very Start’, author unknown (can we replace ‘I’ with ‘We’, ‘My’ with ‘Our’, and ‘Mother’ with either ‘Father’, or ‘Parents’ throughout, etc)

I loved you from the very start, 
You stole my breath, embraced my heart.
Our life together has just begun, 
You're part of me my little one.
As mother with child, each day I grew, 
My mind was filled with thoughts of you.
I'd daydream of the things we'd share, 
Like late-night bottles and teddy bears.
Like first steps and skinned knees, 

Like bedtime stories and ABC's.
I thought of things you'd want to know, 
Like how birds fly and flowers grow.
I thought of lessons I'd need to share, 
Like standing tall and playing fair.
When I first saw your precious face, 
I prayed your life be touched with grace.
I thanked the angels from above, 
And promised you unending love.
Each night I lay you down to sleep, 
I gently kiss your head and cheek.
I count your little fingers and toes; 
I memorize your eyes and nose.
I linger at your nursery door, 
Awed each day I love you more.
Through misty eyes, I dim the light, 
I whisper, "I love you" every night.
I loved you from the very start, 
You stole my breath, embraced my heart.
As mother and child our journeys begin, 
My heart's yours forever my little friend.

 2. ‘The Chosen Heart’, by Teri Harrison(perfect, for an adopted child)

Longing for a child to love,

I'd wish upon the stars above.

In my heart I always knew,

A part of me was meant for you.

I think how happy we will be,

Once I adopt you, & you adopt me.

I dream of all the joy you'll bring,

Imagining even the littlest things.

The way it will feel to hold you tight

& tuck you in every night.

The drawings on the refrigerator door

& childhood toys across the floor,

The favorite stories read again & again

& hours of fun with make believe friends.

The day you took my outstretched hand

A journey ended but our love began.

Still mesmerized by your sweet face

Still warmed inside by our first embrace.

I promised to give you a happy home

& a loving family all your own.

A house you've now made complete 

with laughter, smiles & tiny feet.

A parent is one who guides the way

Know I will be there every day

Rest easy as each night you sleep

A lifetime of love is yours to keep

Longing for a child to love

I'd wish upon the stars above.

In my heart, I always knew

A part of me belonged to you.

3. ‘Wishes for A Child’, by Joanna Miller

May you know the gift of friendship,

Feel the sun upon your face,

May you win displaying dignity,

And accept defeat with grace,

May you marvel with the wonders,

Of nature and the earth,

May you value education,

And know your own true worth,

May you live and love with honesty,

And do the thing that’s right,

May you stand up for the homeless,

And sleep in peace at night,

May you thrive upon a challenge,

And sing and dance and laugh,

May you know the joy of parenthood,

And follow your own path.

4. ‘A Wee Bit of Heaven’, by Helen Steiner Rice

A wee bit of heaven
drifted down from above-
A handful of happiness,
a heart full of love.

The mystery of life,
so sacred and sweet-
The giver of joy
so deep and complete.

Precious and priceless,
so lovable, too-
The world's sweetest miracle,
baby, is you. 

5. ‘Baby’s Eyes’, by Edith Willis Linn Forbes

My baby's eyes! What light they hold;
What wonderful hints of wealth untold;
Of lands where the flowers never die,
Of tropic lands where the sunbeams lie,

On diamond fields and hills of gold. 
My baby's eyes! There are hints in these
Of wonder-land's glory, of sunny seas;
Of ice-capped mountains and fields of snow;
Of twilight shadows and moonlight glow,
And the hidden springs of mysteries.

There are hope and faith and glad surprise,
And depths where latent passion lies;
Sky-touching heights of peace and light,
And rushing rivers of wild affright;
And gleams of heaven in baby's eyes.

 6. ‘Forever Young’, by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation 
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young.

7. ‘A Message for My Child’, by Jessica Wesolek

I wish that I could show you

all the things that I have seen.
I wish that I could take you
everywhere that I have been.
I wish that I could indicate
the places where I fell,
And keep you, thus, from tripping
on those “rougher” spots as well.
I wish that I could do all this
and save you from the strife.
But I know that I’d be sparing you
the lessons of your life.
And you must learn those lessons
as hard as that may be,
Just know that you will always have
a helping hand from me.

8. ‘Ode on the Whole Duty of Parents’, by Frances Cornford


The spirits of children are remote and wise,
They must go free
Like fishes in the sea
Or starlings in the skies,
Whilst you remain
The shore where casually they come again.
But when there falls the stalking shade of fear,
You must be suddenly near,
You, the unstable,  must become a tree
In whose unending heights of flowering green
Hangs every fruit that grows, with silver bells;
Where heart-distracting magic birds are seen
And all the things a fairy-story tells;
Though still you should possess
Roots that go deep in ordinary earth,
And strong consoling bark
To love and to caress.

9. ‘Before You Came’, by Beverly Butcher

What did we do, in the days before you came?
Vodka, and dancing, and staying out late,
Breakfast at tea-time,
Reading the papers, a long lie-in,
And space in the bed.

Now it's daisy chains, and super-heroes,
Butterfly wings, and light-sabres,
Eating pink cake,
Naming stars,
And catching snowflakes in our mouths,
No room in the bed,
And a half-sleep on its edge,
While you snore, stretched out, a star-fish.

Time escaping, before you came,
And cast your spell,
And filled the house with possibility;
All the things you want to do,
And all the things you're going to be,
So - let's make a den,
Take our biscuits in,
Carve lanterns at Hallowe'en,
Watch grown-ups do star jumps on a trampoline,
And wonder what we ever did,
In the days before you came.

10. ‘Children Learn What They Live’, by Dorothy Law Nolte

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

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