Poems for a humanist naming ceremony

Photo by Barry Willis

A humanist naming ceremony is a non-religious celebration for welcoming a child into the family and giving them their name. It’s the perfect alternative to a christening or baptism for families who aren’t religious.

In addition to the naming, parental promises, and promises from ‘guide parents’, families often choose to include the reading of a favourite poem at a naming ceremony.

If you don’t have a favourite poem, but would like a poetry reading at your child’s naming ceremony, our celebrants have a wealth of poems for you to choose from. They can help you find something that is entirely appropriate and meaningful to you and your family.

Here are some of our celebrants’ favourite poems for naming ceremonies.

‘Follow Your Dreams’ by Jim Boswell

When others say “It’s hopeless and it really can’t be done.”

When they tell you “It’s all over. It’s a race that can’t be won.”

And they promise “You could spend your life just lying in the sun.”

Follow your dreams boy. Follow your dreams!

When the people you admire, but who wouldn’t understand,

Tell you “Other roads are safer. Your dreams are much too grand.”

Or the doubters and the tempters try to take you by the hand.

Follow your dreams boy. Follow your dreams!

You should listen to the counsel of the people that you trust.

But don’t be turned aside just because they might get fussed

You live the life that in your heart you know you really must.

Follow your dreams boy. Follow your dreams!

There is nothing you can’t conquer if you believe you can.

No mountains you can’t straddle, no oceans you can’t span.

Just conjure up a vision and set yourself a plan.

Follow your dreams boy. Follow your dreams!


‘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 at 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 helpless

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.  


‘Welcome’ (Anon) 

Welcome to sunlight

Welcome to the soft rain on your face

Welcome to the rush of the wind

Welcome to the hush of the sea

Welcome to much joy and a little sorrow

Welcome to birdsong

Welcome to music and laughter

Welcome to the leaves on the tree

Welcome to the miracle of words

Welcome to the whispering of rivers

Welcome to dreaming

Welcome to everything you can see and name

Welcome to your mother’s care

Welcome to your father’s smile

Welcome to the love of all here

Welcome to the world.


A poem for adopted children or stepchildren

Celebrant Kate Harrison shared this lovely poem that is popular for naming ceremonies for adopted children.

‘Not flesh of my flesh’ by Fleur Conkling Heyliger

Not flesh of my flesh

Nor bone of my bone,

But still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute,

You didn’t grow under my heart,

But in it.

We’ve chosen our poem, what next? 

Your celebrant will be able to discuss lots of ideas with you about how to involve friends, family, and other children in the day, such as tree-planting, lighting a unity candle,or a sand-blending ritual.

If you’ve never seen a humanist naming ceremony, our short video will give you some ideas of what you can include.

If you’d like to discuss a naming ceremony with a local celebrant, you can find one via our online map.

Naming Ceremonies

A humanist naming ceremony is the perfect way to welcome a new member of your family.

Ideas and inspiration

Find interesting ways to create a unique ceremony that engages children and adults alike.

Find a naming celebrant

Your humanist celebrant will write a unique script to celebrate the naming of your child.