So I love searching for things on Google. Medical things, mommy things, books, names, cities, places, and then also the more random things. I just typed in “mrs. children call me address christian” — random, huh? 🙂
But seriously, I have been doing a bunch of thinking lately about why we want our children to address people formally. In our modern American culture, it’s just plain weird not to be casual and fancy-free. That’s why people can wear shorts and flipflops to church and not everyone gasps upon their arrival. That’s why when children (yes, I am including adolescent teens in that word) refer to me as Melissa or a nickname (yes, it’s even worse, but there are a couple kids at my church who do it) — few people get as ruffled about it as I do. Why? This can be a touchy subject for many people. (obviously I am passionate about it, too, hehe)
I do not have the time to get into this much. I feel like I would love to write a book about it though. 😉
For now, suffice it to say that my children will all refer to any adult as Mr. Lastname and Mrs. Lastname/Miss Lastname. I am also hoping to incorprate Mr. Firstname and Miss Firstname for people who don’t quite fit in that category. For instance, yesterday when we had 4 kids over for the day, I always refer to the girls as Miss Firstname, especially when Gabriel is around.
Formal? Yes, I suppose.
So, why do we break the cultural norm of casuality?
Especially when it comes to addressing adults. And where do you draw the line of “adult”? Anyone over 18? (so, do you want a 17 year old addressing their 18 year old friend that way…) Anyone 10 years older than you? Anyone who’s married? (so, what about the 45 year old single woman?) Of course I understand there are many variables. People, especially nonChristians, say that it’s simply simpler for our kids to address adults as adults address adults. But that is laziness. Another hallmark of our modern American culture. Honor and wisdom come with age. Anyone older than you, really you should automatically assume (whether it’s accurate or not…) that they are wiser — and that deserves honor and respect. Age demands respect. Age demands honor. Age more frequently than not comes with great wisdom, much knowledge, good insight. All of these are wonderful reasons to address adults with graceful, kind, words and titles which show they are respected and honored.
I love being called by my husband’s name. It is an honor. It is a mark of respect, but it is also lovely. Some of my friends don’t like being called by their last name. It only makes me wonder, though, WHY. Think back to your wedding day, and remember when you were proclaimed husband and wife. Suddenly you are one. Not two. But one. You belong to your head. He is your lord, and you are his crown. You should adore being called by his name. (whether you do or not… notice I said should…)
By the same token, we should teach our daughters to love being called by their father’s name. Miss Lastname. At that point in their life, their daddy is their head. He is their lord and they are his jewels.
I want to continue, but I don’t have time right now.
I will leave you with this link to an interested article from a book written in 1888. In just a few short years since then, see how far our ettiquette (even in the nonChristian sphere) has fallen. See how low a respect we have as a culture, and how our culture is simply breeding casuality & disrespect.
Christians! Brethren! We are not of the world. Our children are not of the world. We should not, therefore, look like the world, act like the world, or speak like the world.
May God give us grace as we train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and as these things come out in details like addressing other people — remember, they are all images of God, too.
Oh, and a few random verses that I’ll quickly pop in here, for interest’s sake. 🙂
You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man…
a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young.
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
Pay to all what is owed to them…, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
A gracious woman gets honor…
The wise will inherit honor…