We’ve always danced around the issue of how our children should address our adult friends.
Of course I’d prefer the kids use a formal title, like “Mrs. Rowling,” but at some point when we weren’t paying attention our friends’ kids started calling us by our first names.
So I confused my kids by saying they should call certain adults by their first name because their kids do that to us.
And, well, it’s all a big mess now, and the issue has been ignored rather than fixed.
I could just insist on my kids always being polite and formal with everyone over the age of 18, but that might put them far out of step with society.
I might even run the risk of our friends thinking we’re teaching our kids to feel superior to their kids by using the seemingly old fashioned titles of “Mr.” and “Mrs.”
This all came up in my mind again recently with my son’s Boy Scout troop. It’s an informal one, which is good. Some structure, but nothing like the military mindset I’ve seen in other troops. What I don’t like is the insistence of all the adult leaders to have the boys address them by their first names.
It feels ever so slightly disrespectful.
And it also feels like the boys aren’t quite as willing to recognize the authority of the adult leaders during meetings and troop outings.
Back in my day, if we called our Scoutmaster by his first name, we were on KP duty. Or worse, latrine duty.
I hate to have my kids feel like the odd ones out, but I think I’m going to start insisting that they stop referring to adults by their first name.
Who knows, maybe it will start a new trend.