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What should they call us?

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In my troop first names are the norm. In fact I really can't think of many people that I have met in Scouting that prefer formal forms of address (except in formal settings or when introduced to someone totally new). There was one leader that all of us used to address as Mr. (lastname), but I have since found that was started before my time as a way of joking about his age and that he did not care for it. (He is one of those sorts that got the wizened old gentelman look well before he was fifty, or perhaps even forty.)


I did once make the mistake of addressing an ASM from another troop by his first name. I just assumed that since everyone I knew in Scouting preffered it that way he would too. I was quickly (but not rudely) corrected. His son (a friend of mine) is one of those sorts who can't help but address people as sir or mam. The entire family is respectful almost to a fault.


I have always been addressed by those in my troop by first name and that will likely continue, though the new guys may take to Mr. The only times I have ever been addressed formally in Scouting were while I was Lodge Chief.


The way I see it Scouting is a brotherhood. It makes sense to address the leaders of your own troop, or other adults you know well by first name within Scouting settings. On the other hand I would hope the Scouts in my troop would address the leaders of another troop or a camp as Mr. (lastname) until told otherwise.

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OK...so I haven't read all the posts, really only the OP...


For all the years I've been at it, I've always expected that the Scouts in the troop would refer to any and all adults, volunteers, visitors, parents..., any of them, as Mr. or Mrs.


By that same token, I have always expected the same of myself, and have always referred to the Scouts as Mr. Smith, or Mr. Jones. On occassion, in Scoutmaster Conferences and the like, I might do otherwise. Doing so is a bit more personal in my book. In the troop setting, I give my respect to the boys as Scouts and as a troop...Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones..., if I address them at all (it's most often that the SPL is addressing them). Other adults do likewise, at my request. There's a certain level of respect for each other in this, and we are all quite comfortable with it.

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On a humorous note, my sibling and I all have first names that are not prone to shortening or nicknames. Now, when my mother addressed any of us by our first middle and last names, we knew we were is serious trouble. To this day, if I'm addressed by all three names it sends a shiver down my spine.


On occasion, I'll refer to some of the youth in my (our) troop as Mr. Lastname. Nearly 100% of the time the youth is oblivious to the fact that I am addressing him. Granted the troop youth is young (11-14 yr of age) but still, I'm amused that when I address teh young men as Mr. they just assume that I am addressing someone else.


I remember the first few times I was addressed as "sir" or "mister" in public, it was a bittersweet moment. I enjoyed the respect but felt way to young to be called with that salutation. C'est la vie.

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So I just spent a 1/2 hour typing up a manifesto of a reply, click on a link in an email to check out a picture of the columbia memorial plaque on the Mars Spirit lander, and when I click "back", my post is gone. a;sldkjfasldfjljaf. Sorry, that's what happens I bang my head against the keyboard. Here's the link that was the culprit, btw:


Anyway, to summarize the post I'm not going to try and retype:


Like Chippewa, I'm younger than all the parents in my troop. When I became SM 2 years ago at the "young" age of 28, I was then single (now married) and child-free (still am, as far as I know :-) ). I prefer to just be called Chris, for I guess a couple reasons.

1. My first SM was also much younger than any parent, and he used his first name. AND he was a great SM.

2. My father's called Mr. Gagliano, and while my knees may feel as old as he is, the rest of me doesn't (yet). That and I'm not quite sure I deserve to be called "Mr." yet (except Mr. Forgetful, and Mr. Never-on-Time).

3. Like another poster mentioned, I like to think that it allows the scouts to relax a little more around me. They may have relaxed a bit too much, but that's another topic altogether.


All the scouts have been good about addressing the other parents, ASM and CC as Mr./Mrs. X. I still get uncomfortable calling my CC Paul instead of Mr. X____. Nothing my parents drilled into me, just what was always expected as he's much older than me (or is it older than I?). I'll usually call one of the ASM's by Mr. X___, out of both respect and I guess b/c I don't know him all that well.


In my old troop, where I still sometimes help out, I call the parents that I knew as a Scout who've remained active as Mr. ____, although they've said "I think you can just call me Barry now", which I try to do, but it doesn't come natural. What can I say, I'm resistant to change.


My wife (or should it be the woman to whom I'm married) is the same way. Her neighbors have always been Mr. & Mrs. M____ to her(why do people avoid using last names on this board anyway, do we do this in casual conversation? Are we afraid of lawsuits or copyright infringement?! Like anybody would know who we're talking about?). Her younger sister (by 7 years) however, refers to them as Mike and Cheryl, which forces my wife to stop and remember who it is her sister is talking about! Sign of the times, I guess.


Oh yeah - put me in the category of not being a big fan of being called Mr. Chris. Like someone pointed out, it sounds like pre-school, although I've never even heard it used before summer camp 2 years ago. This past year, as provisional SM, boys from another Troop started using it, which is what they use with some of their leaders. I appreciate the effort at showing the extra respect, but wouldn't it make sense to just use my last name?


And to answer the original question, yes, just like it's always better to err on the side of being too dressed up for a party than too casual, you can't really go wrong by starting off with a Mr./Mrs. when you meet or introduce someone.


There you have it - a 10 paragraph "summary". And I'm supposed to be the quiet type. And what to call the in-laws? Still struggling with that one...



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I didn't mean to start a philosophical argument here, just wondering what the prevailing method was. In the troop I'm involved with both meathods are used If the scout is comfortable with it, first names of leaders and parents are used and formal title if thats what the scout prefers. I usually refer to the other adults by title but some prefer first name and one I had to ask what his first name was because EVERYONE calls him Griz. I prefer the Mr. but the older scouts call me by first name and I have no problem.


To those who think use titles are a power thing : How would you address the president of the united state?


I'm assuming none of you know him well enough to call him George or W.

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I expect to be addressed by anyone who is not a peer and by most of those who don't socialize with me. I don't like bank tellers calling me by my first name and I don't call them by their first name. Maybe it is my upbringing or maybe it is my naval background. Perhaps, if I had been in the Air Force, I'd be on a first name basis with everyone.



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Here's an interesting tidbit, sometime ago the boys in our troop began addressing their parents using Mr. or Mrs. Not sure how or why it started, but it sure does save a half-dozen men from turning around everytime a Scout yells "Hey Dad!"


A.C.: I think you've started a great thread. I don't see this as an "argument", you asked folks for their feelings on the subject and they've contributed. This is very interesting and the responses are derived from personal preferences and experiences. There are no right or wrong opinions here.


Now to piggy-back on your question (and keep the philosophical aspect going) to those of you who are parents, and are on a first-name basis with the Scouts in your troop: How do your children address you?

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I usually call adults Mr., Mrs., ect. Unless they tell me otherwise. At work I call them by their first names if I know them, and respond with sir or mam. I consider this a form or respect, and insist that my children do the same. Please do not go over my head and give my children permission to do what I have told them not to do.


I can still remember the first time that I called my former cross country coach by his first name. It was about twenty yrs. ago, we were by no means equals, but we were assisting his son as coaches. It took me a few moments to process the step I had taken. If you wish to date me, this was about 15 yrs after he was my coach.


In the company of scouts, runners or students (I volunteer at some schools)I make it a point to speak of or to other adults using the formal terms. This is often difficult if i have known the adult as a friend from youth. If a youth had a particular name or title he prefers to go by, I would respect his wishes. And on the track, I take special pains to try (sometimes, very unsuccessfully) to get their last names correct. Last names only here, as that is often all I am given, and as a sign that I consider them all to be equal competitors, I try to maintain the decorum when I happen to know one of the runners personally.


I tell teachers when they ask, that I would prefer that the students address me as Mr--. This is not because I think I am better, I just believe it is a simple lesson in respect (like please and thank you). When the children do not know, or pay attention, I seldom correct them, and it seldom bothers me.


As for scouts, we have a simple solution to those who prefer the first name. Preface it with uncle or aunt. The respect is there and the familliarity is not lost.


YIS, Keschmahalen


ps. oh yes, my son calls me dad, and he still kisses me good by in public (gee, is this allowed?)

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While I agree that other peoples children should do what their parents want or wish them to do and I don't like crossing them when it comes down to me and my name and what I want to be called this is up to me. I don't want to be called Mr. Lastname. As this is something that is mine the wishes of others just do not come into play. I will call you what you want to be called. I would hope that people would extend me the same consideration.Going against my wishes is not being polite.


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I'm actually surprised at the number of adults who allow the scouts to call them by their first name. It seems that it's a majority of troops (on this forum) that do this. I must be more conservative (read old-fashioned!) than I thought. At 42 years young, who would have thunk it.


Our scouts use Mr. or Mrs. Lastname when addressing any adult. And if I am talking to a scout about an adult, I refer to them as Mr. or Mrs. However, even if a scout is nearby, if I am addressing an adult, I use their first name.


I have always taught my children to call any adult by Mr. and Mrs. and do not wish this to be different. So I am with FOG on this one. The main reason is I do not want my children to get confused and start calling other adults by their first name/nickname. I guess I could see Mr. Eamonn as a sort of compromise.


As far as Uncle Dave/Aunt Martha, I again would not want my children using this address with anyone other than their true aunts and uncles.


Lastly, I do not think the Mr and Mrs (or Dr.) shows a superiority, rather it is simply politeness. As someone else said, I expect it from my children along with the please and thank you.(This message has been edited by Glenn)

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"Sorry, but when it comes down to what you want from my children and what I want from my children, you lose."


You certainly have the legal right to teach your children to disrespect the wishes of others because the action resembles an honor that you like to receive. Just don't pretend that you are teaching them respect of others by having them use a common form of respect in cases where it is contrary to what true respect would dictate. (And don't try to write any sentences like the last one, either.)


I do understand your preference, however. I would much rather be addressed as "Mr. Guy" than simply as "Fat."



Glenn, do you extend the courtesy of title to the youth whom you serve? If you want a respectful and 'professional' relationship, then it goes both ways. Respect should neither be dependent upon age, nor its symbolic expression distributed based on it. At least not among the fellowship of scouting, that is.. Other organizations may have age-based guidelines as to where respect is due. Let me know if you join one.



I will admit that my perception may be warped. Like Eamonn, I simply prefer the sound of my first name to that of my surname. Perhaps if it were the other way around... Nah, I would just acquire a permanent nickname.(This message has been edited by Adrianvs)

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I'd rather call your perception "misguided" rather than "warped". I believe your position that using titles is not a matter of respect, or that using such titles should go both ways in order to be deemed respect, is a product of the standards being loosened in our society. Just as it used to be wrong to have intimate relations outside of marriage and now it is acceptable, just as it used to be wrong to swear but it is now commonplace, providing reasons for children to pretend as if they owe adults no level of respect during conversations has become commonplace. We all owe each other a level of respect. Adults show children respect by listening, by being interested in and empathetic with what the child has to say, by treating each child as though he or she was our own. Among the ways children have always shown respect for adults is the way in which they adressed us. Just because society has become too lazy to encourage this does not make it wrong.


On the other hand, I agree with your point to FOG. As parents, we all should have the right to raise our children as we see best. In that regard, FOG is right. However, when a parent is faced with teaching their children to use a title to show respect, or to abide by the wishes of the person to be adressed, the better lesson, I think, is to instruct the child to do as the other adult wishes.



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