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Do you use professional titles?


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On 1/24/2021 at 9:44 AM, Armymutt said:

I'm generally laid back, since I rarely hear my first name at work - I'm in the Army.  I'm a veterinarian, but don't really care if people call me Mr. or Dr.   My wife is a pharmacist and really hates being called Mrs. or Ms.  She's about to become the Committee Chair for our pack.  It brought up the idea of using titles in Scouting.  My personal point of view is first names are better.  I have/had a closer bond with my Scoutmasters that I called by their first names, than with those I interacted with in a more formal manner.  What's the crowd say?

I'm strongly a first name person, scout or adult.  It's about reducing barriers to communication.  I want the scouts relaxed and willing to discuss challenges.

I don't view this as teaching courtesy or manners.  I see that taught in a 1000% small lessons that we should be having throughout scouting. 

Set expectations to be consistent.  If you expect formal from the scouts, then also be formal to the scout.   Anything else sounds like a power trip.   

 

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My dad was a retired Navy Chief.  I can hear him saying, "don't call me Sir...I work for a living." (or worse)  

I'm generally laid back, since I rarely hear my first name at work - I'm in the Army.  I'm a veterinarian, but don't really care if people call me Mr. or Dr.   My wife is a pharmacist and really hates

When I reference another adult to scouts, I try to use Mr./Mrs./Miss. I'm not perfect at this, but most of the time this is what I do. When speaking to adults, we're peers and I use first names a

3 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

... If we're being smart alecky (which is often) it's title and first name - Scoutmaster Bob...ASM Pete

At the moment, I wouldn't consider it smart-alecky if our boys chose to do that. We have had rotated different adults into SM, and addressing the leaders as SM (first name) and ASM (last name) might help boys understand who is fulfilling what role now. However, that's just not our culture, so I take it in stride.

The kids at church call me Mr (first name), and I'm good with that.

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Our troop is more laded back. Adult to adult first name but it can get confusing with 2 unit leaders and one of the youth fathers with the same first name.  Youth to adult usually Mr/Mrs First name.   Adult to youth First name and in some cases the scouts nickname. 

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1.  I never address or refer to our youth as boys, girls, or kids.  They are always "Scouts."  They have picked up on this, and notice that it is my way of showing them respect.

2. I call Scouts by their first names until they turn 18.  At the age of majority, I refer to our new Scouters as Mr./Ms.  in front of the Scouts.  This takes some getting used to ;)

3.  Adults refer to each other, when talking to Scouts, as Mr./Ms Lastname...  Adult-to-adult is always first names.

4.  I never throw in a title request...if anyone asks me to use their title, then I ask them to use mine, "Colonel."  Only one person has ever insisted I call them a title (outside the military), and I asked for the reciprocal courtesy.  They looked sidelong at me for a sec, then complied.

5.  Some of our Scouts and adults call me "Colonel".  I have never asked them to.  They know of my military service, and those who understand what it means show me a great deal of respect by using it.

6.  When Scouts ask me what they should call me, I say "Mr. XXXXXX", but because my last name is a bit difficult, "Mr. X" is fine.

7.  I grew up in a part of the South where we called adults we knew Mr./Ms. Firstname.  It was and is a sign of "familiar respect".  If you didn't use Mr./Ms., and only used "Firstname" you'd receive a word to mind your manners.  I never got a switching for this, but know a few who did ;)  ----- You called the adults you didn't know Mr./Ms. Lastname. 

8.  If none if the above are suitable for you, you may refer to me as "Your Majesty" :)

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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19 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

  ----- You called the adults you didn't know Mr./Ms. Lastname. 

8.  If none if the above are suitable for you, you may refer to me as "Your Majesty" :)

I agree manners calls for referring to people you don't know by title.  

Beyond that it's a style and choice.  Perhaps this is why troops can be so different.   As "colonel" was brought up, perhaps we can think of scouts on a continuum.  On one end, is the military --> Stand up straight and salute the those in charge.  On the other end is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America --> a friendly, first-name basis mentoring relationship. 

Both styles are absolutely valid.

Our SM for 15 years was always <first name>.  He was a good friend to the scouts; a friendly ear; and a mentor.  He did not really "lead" the scouts and definitely did not put himself in-charge of the scouts.  It's what I wanted for my sons.  I consciously avoided the local militant troop.  With that said, I'd put our troop up against the other troop any day of the year.  Camping.  Adventure.  Responsibility.  Independence.  

Please do not take this as disrespect.  I honor and respect those who choose the military.  As a parent, the hardest years for me when my enlisted son was on the other side of the world.  Once, we did not see him for over two years.  Often, we went weeks / months without communication.  He was mostly safe, but it was the hardest years.

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13 minutes ago, scoutldr said:

My dad was a retired Navy Chief.  I can hear him saying, "don't call me Sir...I work for a living." (or worse)

@scoutldr, I think that's the prevailing attitude around here. Pitts burghers aren't much for pleasantries. They aren't mean, but their sense of equality-through-work-ethic leads them to shrug off titles. All that said, my second job involved collaborating with cardiologists throughout the country. That involved a lot of phone time with receptionists. There was one in Georgia who insisted on using "Sir", but in a way that was incredibly friendly -- real southern hospitality style. I felt so good after getting off the phone with her, that I started using "Sir" and "Ma'am" in normal interactions around here in Steeler country. I only got push-back once ... a bus-driver called me out. I explained, "Ma'am, you got me through town safe and sound. For that you deserve my utmost respect." She said she'd make an exception for me, but I'd better not let it catch on.

I think I only really infected Son #2 with the mannerism. It worked quite well for him.

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2 hours ago, qwazse said:

@scoutldr, I think that's the prevailing attitude around here. Pitts burghers aren't much for pleasantries. They aren't mean, but their sense of equality-through-work-ethic leads them to shrug off titles. All that said, my second job involved collaborating with cardiologists throughout the country. That involved a lot of phone time with receptionists. There was one in Georgia who insisted on using "Sir", but in a way that was incredibly friendly -- real southern hospitality style. I felt so good after getting off the phone with her, that I started using "Sir" and "Ma'am" in normal interactions around here in Steeler country. I only got push-back once ... a bus-driver called me out. I explained, "Ma'am, you got me through town safe and sound. For that you deserve my utmost respect." She said she'd make an exception for me, but I'd better not let it catch on.

I think I only really infected Son #2 with the mannerism. It worked quite well for him.

The kids in the Southern contingent of our family address all adults as "Sir" or "Ma'am". Reunion visits tend to make you feel as if you've had a sudden promotion to something ...  

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My general instinct is to push back against overly-casual trends in language and manners. I cringe whenever I hear a young person address an adult leader or teacher by their first name, and especially at official Scout meetings and the like I try to impress upon the Scouts the need to address me by Mr. (or Brother in Church settings).

However, I am much, much younger than most other leaders in similar positions in the troop and district, and I am neither married nor do I have children of my own. My own father is still a very active and widely-respected member of the community (we have lived here for almost 35 years), while I only moved back from college a few years ago. Most Scouts hear other parents and leaders address me by my first name, and are thus inclined to do likewise. And since I grew up here, many of the more seasoned Scouters in this area were my leaders years ago anyway, and seem averse to using any other moniker that that with which they knew me as a kid. 

The long and short of this is that I am RARELY addressed as either Mr. or Brother, though I universally insist that the Scouts address all other leaders as such (unless of course they be Mrs./Miss or Sister). And besides, it IS strange to me when people use Mr. or Brother when addressing me since that is my father's name, and so to prevent any confusion, he (justifiably) takes precedent over me. And while I am generally a real stickler for propriety and formality (two of my favorite things 😇), I am usually okay with this. As I am still a single, admittedly child-like soul in many ways, I don't see myself as being particularly wiser nor more capable than most of the youth anyway, and so I feel justified by the singular breach in protocol regarding my own person being addressed by my given name.

 

I do, however, happily and eagerly encourage the use of sobriquets when I must be referred to by Mr. or Brother, sobriquets such as the Younger, el Hijo, the Wise, et cetera. 😂

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2 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

I do, however, happily and eagerly encourage the use of sobriquets when I must be referred to by Mr. or Brother, sobriquets such as the Younger, el Hijo, the Wise, et cetera.

Mr. Latin Scot the Younger: I had a dermatologist whose son followed in his father's footsteps and joined the practice. They were both Dr. Smith in person, but at home we always made distinction between "Dr. Smith the Younger" and "Dr. Smith the Elder". 

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I will admit to slipping and calling or referring to our SM as "Mr. SCOUTMASTER LAST NAME" on occasion when there are no scouts around. It is a slip.

The only time I ever heard/saw anything else was there's a troop in our district where one of the ASMs is a medical doctor and referred to as "Dr. ASM LAST NAME". Everyone, adults and scouts do it. I think several members of the unit had him as their personal physician, so I get it.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

My general instinct is to push back against overly-casual trends in language and manners. I cringe whenever I hear a young person address an adult leader or teacher by their first name, and especially at official Scout meetings and the like I try to impress upon the Scouts the need to address me by Mr. (or Brother in Church settings).

However, I am much, much younger than most other leaders in similar positions in the troop and district, and I am neither married nor do I have children of my own. My own father is still a very active and widely-respected member of the community (we have lived here for almost 35 years), while I only moved back from college a few years ago. Most Scouts hear other parents and leaders address me by my first name, and are thus inclined to do likewise. And since I grew up here, many of the more seasoned Scouters in this area were my leaders years ago anyway, and seem averse to using any other moniker that that with which they knew me as a kid. 

The long and short of this is that I am RARELY addressed as either Mr. or Brother, though I universally insist that the Scouts address all other leaders as such (unless of course they be Mrs./Miss or Sister). And besides, it IS strange to me when people use Mr. or Brother when addressing me since that is my father's name, and so to prevent any confusion, he (justifiably) takes precedent over me. And while I am generally a real stickler for propriety and formality (two of my favorite things 😇), I am usually okay with this. As I am still a single, admittedly child-like soul in many ways, I don't see myself as being particularly wiser nor more capable than most of the youth anyway, and so I feel justified by the singular breach in protocol regarding my own person being addressed by my given name.

 

I do, however, happily and eagerly encourage the use of sobriquets when I must be referred to by Mr. or Brother, sobriquets such as the Younger, el Hijo, the Wise, et cetera. 😂

My first time being called Mr. was when I went on my younger brother's Boy Scout campout during college.  The Scoutmaster refered to me as Mr. around the Scouts.  It was surreal for a moment, but upon thinking about it I realized it was the right thing to do.

In our Pack and Troop it has always been Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. unless someone specifically asks to be called by their first name.  Usually it seems like it's the Cubmaster or Scoutmaster who wants that.  Rarely does anyone get Dr. unless they are an MD and it is well known.  We've had leaders who are PhDs, but folks almost never know it and so no one ever uses it.  Using Mr./Mrs./etc. seems like a part of the Adult Association method of Scouting to me.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

In our Pack and Troop it has always been Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. unless someone specifically asks to be called by their first name.  Usually it seems like it's the Cubmaster or Scoutmaster who wants that.  Rarely does anyone get Dr. unless they are an MD and it is well known.  We've had leaders who are PhDs, but folks almost never know it and so no one ever uses it.  Using Mr./Mrs./etc. seems like a part of the Adult Association method of Scouting to me.

I think this is something best left to the particular troop culture. If you have kids who are completely intimidated by adults, then allowing use of first names might relax them. If you have kids who lack basic respect and manners, then setting the tone with a Mr./Mrs./Ms. might be the way to go. They are used to the Mr./Mrs. model in school and most other youth activities so I tend to follow that. Personally, I don't think most American kids have a big problem with confidence. That's one of the few metrics on which U.S. students habitually outscore international students. I have sometimes addressed scouts as Mr. Last Name as well but that's usually just been when I've been trying to get someone's attention. It does work, lol. One of the most effective leaders I ever had used surnames but also gave almost everyone nicknames. His methods were unique, but they created an incredible sense of corps de esprit. I think good leaders just figure it out. 
 

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4 hours ago, yknot said:

I think this is something best left to the particular troop culture. If you have kids who are completely intimidated by adults, then allowing use of first names might relax them. If you have kids who lack basic respect and manners, then setting the tone with a Mr./Mrs./Ms. might be the way to go. They are used to the Mr./Mrs. model in school and most other youth activities so I tend to follow that. Personally, I don't think most American kids have a big problem with confidence. That's one of the few metrics on which U.S. students habitually outscore international students. I have sometimes addressed scouts as Mr. Last Name as well but that's usually just been when I've been trying to get someone's attention. It does work, lol. One of the most effective leaders I ever had used surnames but also gave almost everyone nicknames. His methods were unique, but they created an incredible sense of corps de esprit. I think good leaders just figure it out. 
 

In practice I agree with you. 

However, I would welcome the BSA to show some leadership on questions like this.  Not a formal document - I certainly don't need a training on the use of professional titles.  But, I would welcome consistency in the BSA examples and would like to see them go with the more traditional Mr./Mrs..  The use of professional titles shouldn't be a cause of discomfort for youth, but if it is for some reason then the units should do the right thing.  In fact, casually using Mr./Mrs. in Scouting is a great way for youth to see them used in a very relaxed setting.  Heck, as a Committee Chair I'd often called Scouts Mr. [name].  It wasn't formal or stiff and was just as comfortable as using first names.  Along the way it showed a certain amount of respect to the youth.  

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On 1/26/2021 at 10:35 AM, scoutldr said:

My dad was a retired Navy Chief.  I can hear him saying, "don't call me Sir...I work for a living." (or worse)

 

I’ve heard that from Army and Marine NCOs, too...

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