07 June 2011

On titles

The boys generally call their friends' parents and my friends Mister and Miss(es) [last name].  And if they know a particular adult well, it's Uncle or Auntie [first name].  There really aren't too many other options for our family.  A few years ago, one of my friends noted that titles were too formal.  But my first argument was that formality has more to do with how they boys interact with these adults and less to do with how they address them.  The boys regularly climb on Mr. S and wait for their tickles from Mrs. B.  Just adding a title doesn't necessitate formality.  My second argument was that formality isn't such a bad idea.  Children are not adults and they should not be treated as equals.  That's not to say that children's wants and needs shouldn't be heard and respected, but the children need to know that they are to heed and respect their elders as well--maybe more so (and I'm supposing "normal" adult personalities here).

That being said, I don't mind being called by my first name.  I mean, who am I to judge what goes on in YOUR family?  But it does make me jump a little when it happens.  Heck, even when I'm called Mrs. H, I flinch all the same.  I don't take offense and I'm not angry in the least, but I am startled.  It's a title based on marriage.  And it's strange to me.  Because I have earned a whole other title: Dr. H.

Once, James met a new coworker who referred to him as Mr. H.  This fella was corrected, "No need for that--just call me James."  And when he said that he preferred last names, James sneered, "If you prefer last names, then I prefer that you call me DOCTOR H," and walked away.

Okay, so I can't and wouldn't dream of sneering at a Kindergartner who lovingly calls out to Mrs. H hoping to get my attention from across the room.  But my insecurities creep forth and I want to explain that I'm more than someone's wife.  Ah...at least Amazon remembers.

Unrelated photos:


Michelle N said...

Oooh, Long and I were just talking about this the other day! Growing up, titles were reserved for American (read: non-Filipino) adults while almost all Filipino adults were Auntie/Uncle. First names were never used by me. EVER. My best friend in junior high's mom was "Pam" to everyone but to me she was "Mrs. P." Call an American by her first name? :O The thought gave me hives. So far, TLE is calling everyone "so-and-so's Mommy" or "teacher" which at least fits for the scope of her world at the moment.

Lam said...

I hope she's able to continue this respectful trend in the face of friends who behave to the contrary.