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May 23, 2008


How do you teach your children to address adults? I realize this may depend on the relationship the child may or may not have with an adult, but do you teach your kids to refer to or address an adult as Mr. or Mrs.?

I ask because...well, here's the thing: Daughter and I were at the school today, helping out with the Relay for Life. Daughter walks over to me at one point, and I said "If you don't like sitting there you can go sit with Mrs. Soandso." (Mrs. Soandso happens to be a good friend of mine.)

Another mom looks over and says "Mrs. Soandso? What's up with that?"

Me: "It's about teaching my kids to have respect for their elders."

I guess that mom found it oddly humorous that I would teach my kids that, but am I so grossly outdated? Too formal? Too anal retentive?

(All of the above!)

Honestly, it's something that my mother taught me and I haven't shaken it. I've known the parent of one of my good friends for over thirty years and no matter how many times this woman tells me to call her by her first name I can't do it. I just can't!

And I'm not comfortable with, say, my kids calling people "Miss Jane" or "Mr. Joe," which was how the folks in church wanted to be addressed.

I don't know, I guess I never thought twice about it; I want my kids to be respectful of everyone, not just their elders.

What do you think?

Show Comments

Posted by Groovyvic at 08:26 PM | Comments (5)

We do the same thing. Although we have settled for that silly "Miss Amy" thing when it is a young, say 20-something teacher. Our Scoutmaster goes by the nickname Possum (Lord knows how he got that one), so they boys have always called him that. And they call the other leaders by their first names usually, but only because they have known them for years and are good friends. But neighbors and elders they don't know well - always Mr or Mrs or Miss last name.

Posted by: TRO at May 24, 2008 08:41 AM

This makes me absolutely crazy, and I'm mystified how this has just gone out the window in exactly one generation. Nobody I know ever called Mrs. Smith "Mrs. Marge" or "Marge" growing up. It would NEVAH occur to us to address our neighbors and parents' friends anything other than Mrs. Smith. But virtually none of my friends' kids call me Mrs. Moyer. I get the inadequate "Mrs. Monica" and also the unacceptable "Monica" from 5 year olds! And I know my friends'parents; I know how they were raised.

What happened to my generation that they just forgot this? I know sometimes it seems odd because you don't FEEL like a "Mrs. Soandso," but guess what: you are. Now act like it.

I almost fell over in a faint when I spent time volunteering in daughter's Catholic school library, and some of her Kindergarten classmates entered, saw me, and said, "Good Morning, Mrs. Moyer." One of a hundred reasons why I LOVE that school!!

But I just don't understand how manners were lost so quickly, and so completely, in one generation.

Posted by: Monica at May 24, 2008 09:23 AM

The kids in Son's class all call me "Mrs. Eiffel" but only because I never told them my first name.

I hate being called "Miss Vicki" because I'm not Tiny Tim's wife, and somehow I think young kids calling me Vicki is just too...I don't know....odd.

Posted by: GroovyVic at May 24, 2008 09:27 AM

We do the same thing as you. Keep the faith!

Posted by: Robbo the Llama Butcher at May 24, 2008 10:21 AM

I agree with teaching children to call elders Mr. or Mrs. [Last Name]. Allowing kids to call adults by their first name seems too casual and informal and lacking respect. And I agree the "Miss" [First Name] just sounds...like a weak attempt at respect.

Once in a while I will run into a teacher I had in high school, and I still call them "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Miss." One of them insisted, "David, call me Margaret." And I complied, but only 'cuz she insisted.

Posted by: david drake at May 24, 2008 06:33 PM