When my wife and I had our first daughter a couple years ago, we went with a non-standard name choice in naming our daughter Linden.
We were pretty excited, and there was one unexpected consequence...that when child number two came along we felt pressure in the name-game, because while we wanted something that suited our upcoming child, we also felt it appropriate that it "coordinate" with our daughter's name.
Now, we did not "build" our child's name around our first, but we did consider how the child's name would sound like it context of our family and our last name.
As we found out we were having a son, it was important to us that when we introduced our two children that it would be clear which child was the male and which was the female, and since Linden as a unique name, but also with a male counterpart (Lyndon) the masculine strength of the child's name was a key consideration.
Through hours of discussion, research, and practicing using the name in the context of children's sporting events, professional work, and routine scolding we excitedly determined his name would be Shepherd.
In addition to being an occupation (like other names like Butler, Mason, Miller, or Sawyer), and although Shepherd's are not a "common occupation" of modern era, the spiritual significance of this occupation in the time of Christ brings added meaning to my wife and I. We love the way in which God is compared to a Shepherd who cares for his flock, feeds them, and protects them from harm. This Shepherd-image is found in the parable of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-21) and is also used in the common psalm, Psalm 23 that says "The Lord is my Shepherd..."
In this imagry, are characteristics of our hope for our son that he is caring of others, a protector, and one who will help others in their personal and spiritual development.
As a given name, Shepherd is not common, with few "famous" Shepherds. Examples include Shepherd Leffler, one of the origianal US representatives from Iowa when it was admitted into the Union in 1846.
As a surname Shepherd is quite common, and also has various derivitve forms including Shephard, Sheppard, Shephard, Shepard, and Shepperd.
Hardly common, after the occupational spelling of Shepherd, the alternate spelling we considered was Shepard, which still not quite as common (based on the research we could find) was the spelling of some individuals like Shepard Smith (Fox News Anchor) and Shepard Fairey (Modern Artist most famous for the Barack Obama's Hope artwork from his 2008 Presidential campaign).
Yet, for us, this spelling wasn't the one for us.
Another child name Shepherd we ran into during our search was that this is the name of Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica's third son (their daughter is Sascha, and their sons are Julian Kal and Shepherd Kellen).
So, while we wait for the arrival of Shepherd (potentially any day now) we look forward to finally meeting him in person, learning all about his personality, and welcoming him to our family.
Pictured above: The Good Shepherd mosaic by at the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy, created in the 4th century.