Or maybe the reasons are lost in antiquity, and now it's just the custom. Sometimes, however, a specific reason comes to light.
A few weeks ago, I cared for a little one on the ward. He was listed on the chart simply as "B/O Anna"--Baby of Anna. He was almost 6 months old, so I asked his mom why he didn't have a name. Her answer stunned me. "His father has left and is with another wife. He doesn't care about us."
"Well, he needs a name," I replied.
"You can give him a name."
When I looked up at her eyes in surprise, I knew that she meant it.
"Really? You want me to give him a name?"
"I'll have to think and pray about it."
To be honest, I didn't think about it much. When I have been in a similar position before, a name turned up in by Bible reading the next day that I suggested. Other times there was an immediate inspiration, like a medical student, or a volunteer from America. There is a little Christiana, named after our recent student. But no name turned up in my readings for the next couple of days, and no other ideas presented themselves.
The next time I saw him on the ward, and thought about it, I got an inspiration.
"My father's name is Allen. He is a good, kind man, a man of God."
And so it was settled. The little one was Allen. I took a photo of him, and after a couple more days he was well enough to be discharged. There were several photos of moms and babies on my camera, and when I downloaded photos a few weeks later, I couldn't remember the significance of the cute little guy with the pretty young mom. Just one more CLK, a cute little kid.
Then a few days ago, I was doing rounds, and saw a newly-admitted baby. His name was Allen. "Oh," I said. "My father's name is Allen."
"Yes", the young mother replied, "you gave him his name."
I was embarrassed not to have recognized them, but if you saw as many cute babies as I do all day every day, you'd understand.
He had a mild pneumonia. He wasn't as sick this time as last time, and was able to go home after just a few days. I remembered to get another picture this time, which helped me sort out which picture was him before. You can see that he has grown and thrived.
Bless you, little Allen. I pray that you grow to be the man that your namesake is.