|completely unrelated picture of Stella on a "laptop"|
Before Sly actually started talking, I had decided that I'd like him to use formal titles for certain adults. I hoped to have him to call his relatives Aunt Kelley or Uncle Alex and to refer to our adult friends as Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so, instead of just using everyone's first names. Thus far, we've completely neglected to actually teach Sly to do this. As I said to Tom the other night, I like the idea of having our kids use these titles "in theory", but it's actually fairly difficult in practice.
As I've mused about before, I do believe that social conventions of this era are woefully informal. Using titles as simple as "Mr". and "Mrs." for your elders connotes and breeds greater respect for them, instead of putting everyone on the same level. I really do like the idea of it.
It's a difficult practice to start, though. Neither Tom nor I grew up doing this. Our relatives were all just called by first names. And as for my parent's adult friends (or, similarly, the parents of my childhood friends)...well, I'm not sure about Tom, but I know that as a child I basically did everything possible to avoid having to address them directly for the very reason that I didn't know the appropriate way to do so! My parents never taught me what to do. It was often awkward, because a few kids might automatically call some friends' mom "Mrs. Jones", but some of us weren't comfortable saying it - not having been brought up that way - so we would avoid having to say her name at all. I don't want my kids to have that same confusion.
But habits are just so hard to break. It seems weird and forced to refer to our friends as Mr., Miss, or Mrs. instead of their first names, as we've done for years. And now that Sly already knows them by all their first names, we'd have to fight a protracted battle to get him to change. For a little while in the beginning, I was obstinately referring to my three brothers as "Uncle whoever" when Sly was around. But they continuously scoffed at it, insisting that Sly just call them by their first names, and I finally gave in.
I know that if it was important enough to us that Sly use titles for adults, then we would just buckle down and teach him. But Tom doesn't feel very strongly about it either way, and I'm not sure if I feel strongly enough to both make Tom get on board and fight against the tide and make it happen.
What do you think? Did you use titles like "Mr. and Mrs." for adults as a kid? Are you teaching your kids to do it? Is it worth it?