The South has a custom I wish the rest of our country would adopt.
Little children down south are taught from an early age to call adults “Mr.” or “Miss,” followed by the adult’s first name.
Think of it! Sam Jones becomes “Mr. Sam.” Stephanie Green becomes “Miss Stephanie.”
No more difficulties in knowing what to call your elders. It would even work for people in my generation, who aren’t prepared to call the adults in my parents’ generation by their first names, even when they insist on it!
Look, people marry, get divorced, take back their maiden names, marry again, etc.
That’s confusing enough for adults; why burden our kids with it?
One of my son’s little friends used to call me “Mrs. (my son’s name) Mom.”
A standard naming practice would eliminate that. Rarely do people change their first names, and those are the names the kids hear all the time anyway.
How many adults refer to the grocer on the corner as Mr. Malone or the dental hygienist as Mrs. McCoy?
No, it’s simply “Henry” or “Molly.”
Haven’t you cringed when you overheard the kids blurt out “Henry” or “Molly” while talking to those adults? Wouldn’t it be easier if they grew up referring to the grocer as “Mr. Henry” and the hygienist as “Miss Molly?”
I suspect the kids would adapt easily. After all, most day cares and preschools call their teachers and aides “Miss,” followed by a first name.
It’s only when they get into elementary school that they’re expected to keep up with Teacher’s marital status and last name.
Why should they have to?
And while we’re at it, let’s go whole hog and have our kids call adults “ma’am” and “sir” when speaking with them.
Doesn’t “yes, ma’am” or “no, sir” really sound better than “uh-huh” or “uh-uh?”
When My Favorite Domer was little, I tried to get him to do that. It sounded so charming when my niece and nephew, both native Southerners, did.
MFD picked it up fairly quickly, but dropped it just as fast when he didn’t hear any of his friends speaking like that.
Maybe he’ll pick it back up when he starts interviewing for jobs!