Wednesday August 12, 2009

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. 🙂

Leviticus 19:32
You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man…

Deuteronomy 28:50
a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young.

Proverbs 16:31
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29
the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Romans 13:7
Pay to all what is owed to them…, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Proverbs 11:16
A gracious woman gets honor…

Proverbs 3:35
The wise will inherit honor…

4 Replies to “Wednesday August 12, 2009”

  1. This is a topic you don’t hear many people talking about these days. I think our society is lacking in a great many things, in the way we raise/train our kids. It scares me how things my parents taught us (only 20 years ago) is now “out of style” and even unheard of! Amazing…

     Our kids do exactly what you said you prefer. If the person is married, they call them Mr and Mrs Last name and if they’re single, but over the age of 18, they call them Mr. or Miss first name. Its just the way we prefer it and I think it helps remind our kids that they are speaking to an elder. I’ve often wondered if this means I should call people who are much older than me Mr or Mrs last name. I think its a bit overboard, but I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to do that. They also call any girl who baby sits them (no matter what age) Miss first name.

    I actually don’t have any issues with other kids not calling me Mrs. Arnold. Mainly because its the way they’re being raised. I don’t think they mean it to dumb down my age or place of authority over them… or, even the fact that I’m married. Our kids will do as we teach them, so my feeling is, they’ve just not been taught. However, we still enforce the rule with our kids, even when we’re with kids who don’t have the same rules. We know some of the sweetest, most respectful and kind teens or even younger kids that do not call us Mr. or Mrs Arnold and I forgive them for it Jason is my head whether they call me that or not.

    But yes… you’re right about a great many honorable and respectful gestures being lost in only the last 100+ years. It makes me so sad to think about it.

  2. Wow, a lot to think about…. and you’re right!! Our society today IS lacking respect. BIG TIME.

    I think the titles of “Mr./Mrs/Miss” do go a long way in showing respect.

    As far as last names go… I am not one to be upset if someone doesn’t use my last name.

    But were I married, I would prefer to go by my husband’s last name, definitely! 

    I think it’s really important to teach our children to not call adults by their first names only. But like you mentioned… Mr/Mrs/Miss Lastname.

    However, when I am talking to a friend who is around the same age, we are on a first name basis only. If I had children, I would prefer that my friends get called “Miss/Mrs lastname” though.

    Thanks for sharing this!!


  3. hey Sam! 🙂 did I sound like I call my friends formally? cuz I don’t. 🙂 when addressing Gabriel regarding/in the presence of one of my friends, for instance, I would refer to Jane Smith as Mrs. Smith, but if she & I were sitting chatting ourselves I would call her Jane. definitely. and not because I don’t respect Jane Smith. 🙂
    lots of ins & outs in this topic, eh?? 😉

  4. Ah, okay! Thanks for the clarification; I was a bit confused 😉

    Yep, lots of ins and outs on the topic!!

    Interesting to see how people view things though; I love discussions like this!

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