pet peeve: kids who call adults by their first names

you can thank my mom for this one. well, mom and my old friend jen.

awhile back, my beloved pal jen pointed out how bent she gets when she hears kids calling adults by their first name. she will actually correct friends of her children if they call her by her first name. it’s a respect thing, and she feels that it is part of what feeds into the whole entitlement society that we’ve somehow grown.

i couldn’t agree more.

i don’t know whether it’s a southern thing or just something that happens now, but my kids call people they know well, like our neighbors, for example, mr. joe or ms. laurie. adults they don’t know well are mr. smith and ms. jones. authority figures end up here as well — their teachers are obviously known by their last names.  and for my very close friends, like the aforementioned jen — well, she’s aunt jen to my kids. i truly don’t appreciate it when other people’s kids call me by my first name; historically, i have let it slide because my name is complicated to begin with (i kept my name when i married, so kids get confused and call me mrs. mykidslastname, which i also let go. i even prefer that to just my first name.)

when i was growing up, i think my mom would have bodyslammed me if i had had the temerity to call any adult by his or her first name. to this very day i call jen’s mom mrs. lastname for fear that she might wash my mouth out with soap. (you see, jen’s mom and my mom apparently went to the same mom school. this we’ve known for over 40 years now.) another one of my old friends’ moms told me to call her by her first name. i have known this woman now also for about 40 years, and i must say it doesn’t fall trippingly off my tongue. but as she wants me to call her by her first name, i will try my best.

yes, old habits die hard — which is why i hope i’m getting my kids into really good habits now so that they’ll remember them always.

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