Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Being a teacher, I try to instill respect in my students; respect for their peers, respect for property, respect for those in authority, etc. We talk about what it looks like to respect people and their things and give specific examples (i.e. if you borrow a pencil, don't break it and make sure you return it). The kids know they are supposed to respect people, but aren't always sure about what that means.

There a tons of ways to show respect, but the one I've been contemplating lately is how Baby should address people (I know, she can't talk yet, but I want her to have it in her little brain).

I have this major pet peeve when children call adults by their first names. Calling someone by his or her first name means that you are both on equal standing and have mutual respect for one another. With adults, that's totally fine. However, I believe children are not on the same level as adults. They have a lot to learn from those older than them and should remember this when speaking to an adult. Thus, addressing an adult with a title.

When Baby and I visit people, I tell her, "Look, there's Mr./Miss so-and-so (first name is fine)." However, my latest issue is whether or not she should call someone Miss/Mr. or Auntie/Uncle. I have a lot of friends with kids who have been taught to refer to me as Auntie, which I totally love. Even though we are not blood relatives, we are so close that we are practically family. It makes it easy to decide that Baby will in turn call the adults in their family Auntie or Uncle.

But what about my friends who don't have children and who haven't made that decision for me? This is a serious matter that I have to think about. Do I want my child calling all of my friends Auntie or Uncle? Will they get offended if I don't? Will they think we're not close friends and disown me and Baby? How does one decide this?

My conclusion so far is that if you were in my wedding, or married to someone who was in my wedding, then you are an Auntie or Uncle (of course, blood family is included in this, which is a given since they were all in my wedding). If you were not, then you are Mr. or Miss. We'll see how that works out.

That brings me to the next question, of what Baby should call the parents of my friends whom I deem Auntie or Uncle. They are not her grandparents, so no Grandma or Grandpa, but is Mr. or Miss (insert first name here), too informal? We'll just see how long we can go without addressing them before I'm forced to make a decision.


  1. This is a tough one Bethie! I feel your pain. You can just tell her to call me Jode.

  2. That defeats the whole purpose. You can be Miss Jode : )


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