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Do your Scouts call you by your first name

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While we are on the topic of respect...


How about "please", "thank you" and "you're welcome" or even the elusive "excuse me" ?


For most of the time, the scouts now know that in order to gain my attention, they need to use the above words along with Mr.


And the response to "thank you" is not "uh huh" or "it's OK" or "sure"...it is "you're welcome"...


And when they want attention, how many of your scouts use the words "excuse me" to gain your attention?


Anybody running into the lost(or found) art of P's and Q's?

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The art of "manners" is dying. Like the "RSVP", or simply returning borrowed items in a timely fashion without having to be asked for them...don't get me started. I wish there was a "Social Graces" MB...they probably wouldn't sell too many, though. It would be tough to find qualified counselors.

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I'm from a smaller troop where the older scouts generally tend to call my scoutmaster by his first name. Whether we are poking fun at him, or what I can't really tell. He doesn't seem to mind though, I guess he see's it as a sign that these kids really trust him. If they didn't, they wouldn't trust his pride to call him by his first name, in fear that he might be angry.


We address all the other adults as Mr. and or Mrs. Usually. They all have a few well earned nicknames (that they don't mind be called).


Based on the other responses, I realize this is rather odd. But I intrepret this as a sign that the troop's scouts and scouters have bonded together as one unit, and mutual trust has been acheived. =)

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When I was a young ASM I only required the Mr. B in Public. This was done to avoid having my scouts look ill-mannered. That seemed to be the only reason to require it at the time...


Then one day one of the Scouts tolds some thing to "John" that "Mr. B" was required to report. Hurt feelings all around but I was an adult and leaglly bound. Since that day (twenty years ago), It's Mr. B at all times.

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With few exceptions, it is Mr./Mrs. Lastname. I think it is a harder adjustment for some of the adults (including our soon to be SM) than it is for us scouts. Afterall, we are used to refering to adults that way from being in school (I can only think of 1 teacher in our school who is refered to by first name, partly because her last name is Smith (and their are myltiply Mrs. Smith's) and partly as a sign of disrespect).

The only exception to this would be one of our former SM's, no sons in the troop, former SPL (15 years ago). He was always refered to by first name.

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Mr. Lastname. Our Pack it is the same throughout.


The High Schoolers that I coach in rugby also call us Mr. Lastname or Coach Lastname (or at least Coach).


The respect is important and first names tend to start making boys think they are peers with adults. I think it is important for kids to understand that they are not adults and not everything adults do is OK for kids.

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For us it's Scouter + firstname for any of the SM/ ASMs, except for Harvey, who is just Harvey. Non-scouter parents are Mr. or Mrs. + Lastname. Institution Head (pastor) and his assistant are both "Father" + Firstname, and Deacon Joe is Deacon Joe. I'm "Doctor" + firstname.


Nicknames abound.


I think it's generally polite to refer to folks as they would prefer to be addressed, and the kids are pretty good at adjusting. All of the SM's I've seen who are expert at the Adult Relationships Method end up on a first-name basis with their scouts well before they turn 18.



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In our troop all adults are referred to as Mr. or Mrs. as the case may be. (It's Mr. in mine)


My Scouts do refer to purcelce as "Mr. Purcell", but only partially for the reason he gave -- it's also because he gives such a good reaction ;)


Interestingly this topic came up almost 2 years ago -- and it was a 5-pager! Here's the link: http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=49833#id_49833

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We're pretty much on a first name basis. Lots of nicknames, pretty informal. I'm "Steve" to everyone from the first-years to the Pastor. As somebody else mentioned, we find this helps break down the barriers to developing good adult relationships with scouts.


Every once in a while somebody will call me "Mr. Zekany". It totally throws me off... :)

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I had one new scout that took to calling me by my first name.

I have no idea why, but he tended to "bond" to me as opposed to any of the other leaders. All of the other kids (except my kids) called me Mr Baum. It bothered me a little at first, but he meant no disrespect and was a little socially challenged, so I just smiled and let him "get away with it". Now that my boys are getting to be ASMs (over 18 and still active, doing their three year apprenticeship as adult leaders), it may get a little confusing to call all of us Mr Baum. Although my sons wife is Mrs baum to some of them since she is their teacher. I think Mr (firstname) might be a regional anomaly. I used to think it was an Hispanic cultural custom that was translated over to English. Another problem is when the leaders use first names to refer to each other and the kids don't know to whom they are referring.

This is all too confusing. As long as the kids are not being disrespectful it really doesn't matter.


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In our troop, it is Mr. and Mrs. and I like it that way. In our old troop, everything was on a first name basis. We started the troop with all 11 year olds who had been with us in Cubs where we were known by our first names. They literally looked at us like we were crazy if we suggested using Mr. and Mrs. There was way to much familiarity and I think it was part of a pattern for discipline problems we had in that troop. The troop we joined a few months back uses Mr. and Mrs. The boys seem much more respectful in all of their actions. Part of trying to help teach these boys to make ethical decisions over a life time is teaching them how to be gentlemen and to respect authority. I will say that 90% of the time we refer to the boys as Mr. too. Having seen both sides, I believe that the expectation and use of Mr. and Mrs. makes a huge difference in the make up of the troop.

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I find it interesting that the word "respect" has been used pretty much throughout this thread.


Interesting how some things are just "rules".


Maybe respect is more of an opinion than a fact? But it may be a fact in the mind of the person with the opinion.


Respect is earned and is not automatic because of our age, profession, or station in life.


I know people that I don't have a whole lot of respect for and just because I address them by their title, in no way indicates that I repect them to any degree.


There are generally two groups of people that I address by their titles, those that I have little or no repect for and use their title to maintain distance from them, and those that I have a great deal of respect for and use their titles because of that repect. Friends and family are addressed by first name.


Simply because you are addressed by you title does not mean that the person address you has any repect for you.


I generally ask people that I do not respect to address me by my title. Definitely puts them on notice.


I repect all people as human beings - just because I do not repect someone does not mean that I do not like them. There are some that I really do respect - but I may not really like them.


Other than through customary usage, who or what says that using the title Mr., Mrs, Miss, Ms, etc - is repectful. I think that things like this are "learned" over time - many times is just something that is done through custom, teaching, habit, opinion, etc.


We often claim that a thing is right or wrong but is it really? I think that many times it is an opinion more than anything. Some things are declared "wrong" by some people, but are perfectly acceptable and not "wrong" to others.


I know of nothing in the BSA that mandates it. Some organizations such as schools sometimes have in their rules that students must address adults with those titles.


Why should youth address adults using Mr. Mrs., Miss, etc, when we usually address youth by their first name??? I will sometimes address a Scout as Mr. and his last name. Why not?


Some people actually have professional titles such as Doctor, Captain, Sergeant, etc. I supposed that since they had to earn those titles they have more of a cause to be addressed by their title. How does one earn the titles of Mr. Mrs. Miss, etc? Maybe simply by attaining the age of majority? Does something magically happen when we "become" adults to warrant being addressed in a certain manner?


How many of you have heard someone address or speak to or of another using a title, but the tone of the voice was not respectful. Disrespect can be masked by simply using a title.


Even in the business world, first names are used more often than not. Just take a look at the ID badges that employees are forced to wear and often, the first name is printed very large and the last name is printed very small.


I know a person with a PhD who insists on being called "Doctor". I suppose it is every person's right to want to be addressed as they wish, but except in very limited circustances, there is no real way to enforce that desire.


I suppose that if someone does not address us as we wish, we can just ignore them - not sure what that would gain though.


I was TAUGHT to address adults as Mr. Mrs. Miss, Ms. I was never told it was respectful. Just do it. Over time, I came to understand that I address people by their titles because I repect the person - had nothing to do with the title. I was TAUGHT to address military people by their rank because it was required in the regulations and because they earned it. I did it more out of professional respect than because it was required.


In my Scouting and non-Scouting life, MOST youth address adults, including me, as Mr. Mrs, Miss etc. But not all and even those that do, sometimes don't. And I don't necessarily think that they are being disrectful if they don't. I don't have a problem with a youth calling me Mr. and then my first name. Some adults do mind.


I found it interesting that some units address registered adults as Scouter and last name and Scouts as Scout and last name. I see nothing wrong with that.


In the end, I think a person has the right to be addressed as they wish - but again, except in very limited circumstances, there is no real way to enforce that desire. Personally, I prefer to be called by my first name under most circumstances, but I am not offended if some one address me as Mr. either. It does not bother me that youth call me by my first name. After all, it is my name.


Interesting topic but I doubt there is no one "right" answer.



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It's a tricky subject, but one where it's always best to err on the side of etiquette. If you prefer to be called by your first name and it doesn't cause problems with other adults in your unit, more power to you.


Addressing someone you do not know, or is older than you by Mr., Mrs., Sir, Ma'am is a sign of respect. Some refer to it as a courtesy or manners, but by doing it you are being respectful of another person's dignity. Assuming familiarity by using first names without permission is being disrespectful of another person's wishes.


You say you were taught "to address adults as Mr. Mrs. Miss, Ms. I was never told it was respectful. Just do it." It may not have been explained, but it is implied and to have done otherwise would have been disrespectful of your parent's wishes. I can respect your preference to be addressed by your first name without knowing you or having respect for you as a person, but does that make it any less respectful?


By the same token, referring to someone formally after they've asked you to use their first name would be disrespectful. You may respect that person deeply as an individual, but to ignore their stated preference is -- disrespectful.


In the end, I find it best to offer the courtesy of formality. If I'm asked to do otherwise I comply -- although it can be difficult. My pastor prefers to be called by his first name only although he'll never correct you if stick with the formal. I've found that I can address him by his first name, but whenever I refer to him I tend to add the "Rev". When I meet my former commanders or supervisors I automatically use Sir/Ma'am. There are some I definitely do not respect in any way, but I respect the fact that they attained a higher rank than I did. Virtually all of them request that I use their first names and I admit it feels strange at times -- but I respect their preferences.



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Showing respect varies depending on culture. Here all adults are called by their Scout or Woodbadge name. I have been Emu since 1985 at the age of 18 when I started as a Scouter. It is not formal (Mr))and is not too familiar (Graham).


But I am not from the USA and I believe that Mr/Mrs is pretty standard. According to tv so is Coach Lastname when at sport. Now that would get you laughed off the field here. It just depends on the culture.


I would think that not all segments of US society would use Mr/Mrs when talking youth to adult. If your Troop is seeking Scouts from social segments which do not use Mr/Mrs you are shooting yourselves in the foot by demanding something which is not appropriate to the social scene the youths are living in.


If you recruit only from your church (for example) this is not the issue. You are then promoting an internal social norm.


I don't see it as a big deal either way. As long as it meets your deliberate aims and is not just blindly following a habit. That's how I made m decision to stay with Emu. Over here it works that way.

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To parrot a few others here, I think respect and courtesy are kind of interchangable here. While I agree that respect is earned, scouting like many other things in life has a chain of "command". Each time a scout wanders up to one of us adults and asks a question, we send him back to his patrol leader. We let them know that is how it is done and if he doesn't get satisfaction, he can take it to an ASPL, then the SPL and then an adult. Respect and coutesy are taught as well as earned. We don't just leave it up to them to pick it up on their own any more than we would building a fire or using woods tools. Trust me, from my experience, if we didn't teach the boys to show a little respect and coutesy when addressing people, many of them would refer to their patrol members as frickin' dudes......which doesn't fly in out troop.

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