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DEAR CHRISTINE: Youth should respect elders


DEAR CHRISTINE: Youth should respect elders

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Dear Christine,

I am a 30-year-old married mother-to-be. Lately, I have been increasingly frustrated with children calling adults bytheir first name.

I am not talking about adults to whom the children are closely related; I am talking about neighbours, friends, parents and so on. I have recently been introduced to the children of several acquaintances and neighbours by my first name. I realise that I am not elderly, but I am an adult.

I was always taught to respect my elders and to refer to them as “Mr”, “Mrs” or “Miss” unless invited to do otherwise. It is not the children’s fault – it is the adults who allow them to do this.

I plan on raising my children to follow this rule of thumb: if you’re not sure what a person prefers to be called, ask! Some adults don’t mind young children calling them by their first names, but have we become so informal that everyone is now a Tom or a Nancy? How do I get around this without sounding like a stick in the mud?

– V.H.

Dear V.H.,

There are some people who do not mind what or whom they are called. There are also some who believe, like you do, that adults should be addressed by their surnames and not their Christian names. I see your point clearly.

Children should be taught how to address adults. What I find annoying though, is the oversensitivity of some adults who desire to be addressed formally by other adults. Respect should be given when it is due, but some people get carried away by titles of all sorts and even when the title is not necessary, they will make a fussabout it.

I believe that parents should tell children how they should address adults. That should make things a lot easier.

Many adults always tell children how they ought to be addressed, but it is the parents’ duty also to teach their children the right way.

To you and all who are reading this column right now, I think you should state how you would like to be addressed – especially by children – without makinga mountain outof a molehill.