August 15, 2016

Is Miss (first name) Less Respectful Than Mrs. (last name)?

Is having your children call an adult by
Miss (first name) disrespectful?
 I have fallen into that trend, which only
becomes a problem for me when characters
like SNL's Mr. Bill become my
mental image of the person in question!
As the start of the school-year is just around the corner, I wanted to re-share this article that was originally published on What are your thoughts on this?

Mrs. Mayrend?”

Standing there, I look astounded, glancing over my shoulder wondering, “who are they speaking to?

Mrs. Mayrend?

It hits me that the Mrs. in question is ME. It’s kind of a weird feeling, but better than being called “Zach or Gabby’s Mom.” But frankly, Mrs. Mayrend is my mother-in-law and hearing the name Mrs. Mayrend makes me feel old. (With no disrespect to my mother-in-law.)

I’m not sure how it began, but several of my neighbors called themselves Miss So-and-so to my children. “Miss Julie would like to know if you’d like to come and play?” they’d ask. So I just fell into line and started referring to myself as Miss Tammy. It wasn’t until I read a friend’s Facebook post where I started to question my choice. He vented that through age and wisdom he’d earned the right of being called Mr. (last name) and dammit he was going to get that respect from his children’s friends!
Maybe my mom was laid back, because she also had several of my closest friends call her Pat. That’s not to say she didn’t go by Mrs. Jex, in fact she did at school and also as my scouting leader. It’s just that I heard her say often enough, “Call me Pat.”
I recognize that a title teaches children to be respectful, so maybe in my convoluted mind I thought, “Well adding Miss before my first name (even though Miss is not accurate as I am married) still allows friends of my children to give me that respect.” It really wasn’t an issue though, until my son began kindergarten.
It seems it is becoming more common for individuals to change the norm, going by Miss T or Mrs. B. Especially if their names are challenging or possibly just because they want that title. Miss T is my daughter’s teacher, who is married, and Zach’s teacher had a difficult name and must have said at one time that she could be called Mrs. B, because some children did call her that. My son used her full last name, though.
This has been bugging me for quite some time. What am I teaching my children if I allow them to call someone Miss So-and-so? I try asking the parents what they would prefer to be called, and many have responded with Mrs. K or Miss Jenny are fine - unless I am totally missing some hidden resentment signs they are hoping I just “pick up on.” When I coach I go by Coach Tammy, Coach or Coach Mayrend, but why do I NOT like Mrs. Mayrend?
This perplexed me enough that I finally asked friends what their opinions were. Overwhelmingly I was told that to call a married woman anything but Mrs. (last name) would be a grave injustice and not respectful. One friend said she felt very strongly about it being that way, but never said why. Mostly, though, they agreed that calling another adult by anything other than Mrs. (last name) was not respectful. Only two others felt otherwise with one saying she didn’t mind one way or the other and the second saying she’d actually preferred to be called by her first name and not Ms. (last name).
So what do you think? Is it any less respectful to go by Miss (first name)? Does adding any term before the first name add any level of respect?
I’ll admit though, the only time I feel odd about Mr./Miss (first name) is when I hear a name like Bill. It brings a whole different mental image to mind!

No comments:

Post a Comment