Every adult, I knew as a child, was to be addressed as Mr. or Mrs.
Our neighbours were all Mr. And Mrs.
Friends of the family.
My parents’ friends.
It was never a question.
In fact, today I still address my childhood Mr. and Mrs., as Mr. And Mrs.
Strangely, I did not teach my own children to do that.
I didn’t set out to NOT teach them that.
In fact, in didn’t even occur to me, I had not done so for many years.
Why didn’t I?
Times were different.
Parenting was different.
My childhood neighbours were part of my everyday life.
Leaving for school, salutations were exchanged.
Returning from school, salutations were exchanged.
My childhood neighbours included children who were my playmates.
We all played together.
We went to each other’s houses for snacks.
Sleepovers and shared suppers were constant.
There were always adults watching us.
I was always aware that I was being supervised.
To be caught misbehaving by a neighbour,
Was the exact equivalent to being caught by my own parents.
It takes a village to raise a child concept was fully practiced.
My children didn’t even know their neighbours when they were young.
They only know a few by name today.
There were no other children in our neighbourhood.
My children did not play on the street.
My parents had many friends.
Their friends came to our house a lot.
They would play cards and have parties.
We would say goodnight to all the Mr.’s and Mrs.’
We didn’t have many friends over when my kids were young.
If we were with friends,
Our kids were with a babysitter.
They didn’t know many of our friends.
I never asked or even suggested my kids hug any other adults EVER.
They did hug and kiss their Grandparents and their Aunt.
This happened naturally.
They had a loving relationship with them since birth.
I never had to ask them to do that.
My kids did not grow close to any other adults, until, they were teenagers, actually.
And, those relationships are very few.
But, they are very special to both them and to me.
They address those adults by their first names.
Those adults have children who also address me by my first name.
Yet, I think my children are very well mannered.
I think our friends’ children are well mannered as well.
I think they have learned respect both themselves and others.
Interestingly, they were taught to call their teacher’s by their last name.
Mr. and Mrs. in grade school.
But in secondary school, it is “Harv” and “Kholi”.
This was established by the teachers.
I was surprised to learn how my kids addressed their teachers.
Funny, how I initially thought that was pushing boundaries.
The Mr. and Mrs. of my childhood remain so today.
I have been asked to call them by their first names
But, I just can’t do it.
Imagine calling my grade school principal ‘Howard’.
Even, typing that seems wrong.
However, I am not called Mrs.
In fact, outside of the years I spent at my kids' primary school,
I have rarely been called Mrs. in twenty four years.
The young people in my life respect me.
I value each and every one of those relationships.
Wishing to spend time with me,
Talking to me and about me respectfully
Is all I need.
Well, let's be honest.
I do have a title I cherish every day...
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