Something’s bugging me. It’s been bugging me for days – not keeping me up at night or anything – but enough for me to know that I have to stop ignoring it.
It’s the name of my blog. Normally I am not a wishy-washy, on-the-fence kind of person, but I have to say that for the better part of a week, I’ve been on the fence about the name “Happy Hooligans”. DId I put a ton of thought into the name? Nope. Was that a mistake? Possibly. Your name is the first thing people see when they spot your blog, and it makes a big impression.
When I was a kid, my dad (who is quite possibly THEE best dad on the entire planet), would rarely refer to us as “kids”; we were always scallywags, hooligans, rug-rats, etc., so in all honesty, for me, the word “hooligan” has always brought to mind images of us kids, running freely from yard to yard “hootin’ and hollerin’” (as my friend Joanne would say), and having the time of our lives. I know the official meaning of the word doesn’t depict such an innocent scene, but I didn’t worry too much about it. I popped “Happy” in front of it, thinking that would take care of things, and couldn’t wait to get blogging.
Several days after launching the blog, one of my most respected mentors, who was the equivalent of a “Teacher Tom” back in my day, read the blog, paid his compliments, and asked, with only my best interests at heart, if I was sure I wanted to go with the word “hooligans”. Although he himself, doesn’t worry a great deal about political correctness, he recognizes that there are many out there that do, and his question made me wonder if, at first glance, readers would get a less than positive impression of us.
Now I’m not worried, that people will think the kiddos are running about smashing windows or slashing tires or anything, but when it comes down to it, do I want someone to look at our blog name, and wrinkle their nose and think “that doesn’t sound right”?
So I put the question out to my Happy Hooligans’ facebook followers and asked if they thought the name could be interpreted as being offensive/negative when referring to my amazing bunch of little people. Friends and daycare parents (past and present), and even someone who doesn’t know me personally, responded as follows;
- - I like it, I think it’s a fun term and it evokes an image of a bunch of kids having freedom and fun. I think it’s a real shame to get over political about it.
- - I think it’s just fine! plus there’re “happy”! Especially given the context, it makes me think the those kids are going to have a twinkle in their eye, they might have some dirt on their hands, they are free to hoot and holler and run around in the fresh air, with big smiles on their faces, with you beside them! that sounds pretty good to me!
- - Intent is everything!! It is possible to make any word negative or any traditionally negative word/term positive (i.e. sick, fat a.k.a. phat, hard core etc.). Ya so let’s add another definition for ‘hooligans’ to the dictionary. It might read something like: spirited and wildly imaginative/creative children having a great time with one another. This comes from a very pleased mom of one seriously HAPPY HOOLIGAN.
- - ”With every negative comes a positive” No matter what we do, there will always be a difference of opinion. It’s so unfortunate things always seem to end up in that “political path” You created the blog to share with others what you and those “happy hooligans” are learning and experiencing. (Who, in my opinion, seem pretty darn happy!!) The parents who leave their children in your care know the attention, love and education they are receiving because of your dedication and hard work. Continue to enjoy your passion, Jackie! It shows on all their little faces! All the best to the future “happy hooligans!!
But, there was also this one; someone who’s first impression was exactly what I didn’t want it to be:
- - Well I did pull the ‘maybe that is not quite right’ face when I read it (though I love your blog!!!) I may be overreacting but I have always been very conscious of not using negative words and phrases arouind my son as I know the impact this can have on self-belief/confidence etc. Hooligans is, to me, a negative word and I would never call my son or any other child it. Hope that helps
I know it was only one reaction, and she did check us out and she loved the blog, but here’s the thing: I LOVE my little people. They are the sweetest, most adorable kids that you could ever meet. I don’t want anyone out there to wonder “what kind of word is that to describe a bunch of great, toddlers and pre-schoolers?”
Maybe I’m over-thinking it, or maybe I just wish I’d given the name more consideration – given it the attention that it deserved. Ants in our Pants keeps bouncing around in my brain. It’s catchy and playful and quite fitting for my lively and adventurous troop of little ones. I’m not sure…..I just know that every time I login and see the name “Happy Hooligans”, something niggles at my brain and causes me to wonder what new-comers think when they see it. First impressions are everything right?
What do you think? Should I stick with Happy Hooligans, or change it while the blog is still young? And if you think a change would be good, do you think Ants in our Pants has a nice ring to it?
Honest feedback please! You know how much I appreciate it.