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Showing respect to kids -- how to teach kids to show respect

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Long title--sorry--couldn't think of a shorter one. I am in learning to be concise :)


Titles: I have always called adults by Mr. or Mrs., and to this day (at 40) I still do unless invited to call them by their first name. My children have been taught to ask an adult their last name, and it's not been a problem except for some younger adults who feel that titles make them appear old. I introduce myself to our pack as Mrs. _______. Others go by first name.


Same subject, titles, in the troop. All boys are introduced to all adults as Mr. or Mrs. They always use the titles too, and it's not a problem. The adults even address one another by title before the boys, but when we have committee meetings or meet socially, we are all on a first name basis.


Shaking hands: I have offered my hand to just about adult and boy I have met. The boys often don't know what to do, and the adults are often surprised. These are nice people, but this simple greeting seems to be used little.


Standing when an adult enters the room: I thought this an excellent question posed in another thread. When should we? What do we teach the boys to do during meetings?


I will shake a boy's hand, will listen carefully to him and ask questions to be sure I understand him, will ask what name he prefers for me to call him (so many nicknames!), and try to always show him respect. I do have the expectation of it too. If a boy calls by my first name because he overheard it, I tell him I prefer Mrs. ____. Then of course, there's the Cub Scout and Scout signs and salutes. But other than that, what can we do to help one another show respect?

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I regularly refer to some of the boys in our troop as Mr. So-and-so. Some are very confused, assuming that they mean their father. I don't do it all the time, but when I want their attention, it works.


One of my father's favorite practical jokes that he always had done at wedding receptions was to have the new bride paged as Mrs. New-last-name, such as will Mrs. Smith please come to the office. 90% of the time, the bride assumed it was for her mother-in-law, sister(s)-in-law, etc. and didn't realize that it could mean her!

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Being raised here in the South, I was taught to say Sir and Mam. I would even say Sir? and Mam? to my kids when they were very small when I didn't hear them. It taught them that they should do it also. "What?" is considered to be bad manners. Our leaders are referred to by Mr. and Mrs. First names are not appropriate. Some of you who think Mr. or Mrs. makes you seem too old, need to get over it. You are trying to teach respect in Scouting. Scout troops are the place to make sure it happens. A kid saying Mr. or Mrs. and sir and mam, means they have good manners and doesn't mean your too old.

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Definitley err on the side of respect....

In spite of being one of eight children I grew up spending a lot of time with my parents & their friends who were active in our church and community. Adults were always Mr. ___or Mrs. ___ and even when I became a teen ager / young adult I think that they apprecieated the title. (Even aftewr some had invited me to call them by theitr first name.

As a "retail clerk" ( checker / stockboy) i quickly learned the value of addressing every male as Sir (or Mr.) and every female as Miss. The males all wanted to be mature (older) and the females all wanted to be younger. Some of my regulars actually teased me about teasing them... if tehy were a bit more cheerfulhwen they left I felt good. Supermarkets don't "sell on commission" but I enjoyed it when people siought ne out for information or chose my line even if it was a little longer.) Reality check, contrary to popular belief the song shouldn't be "Grease is the Word" -- Service (or respect!) is the word.

As a teacher I invited my middle school students who volunteered to work our parish festival to call me by my first name while we shared our work. I asked them not to "embarrrass their friends" by calling me by my first name in class and you would be surprised how special they felt. Many would return and help out through high school, few of them remembered to call me Bob, more often than not they did so when friends were "on the other side of the counter." I think that the offer of comraderie was important, but most understood that there is a time and place for familiarity or informality.

Most of the parents of my scouts correct(?) their children if they fail to use Mr., Miss, Ms or Mrs. I'm in subrban Philadelphia.



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I tend to call everyone by their first name.

While Eamonn is very common in Ireland, there are not too many in our part of PA. So everyone just calls me Eamonn.

When I use my full name I use all of it; All three names.

At school in England we were called by our surname only. I never did like it.

I as a rule ask people what name they want to go by. Most will tell me Jim or James, and so on.

I did when I was a Scoutmaster give some of the boys nick names, some stuck others didn't. All were given out of friendly leg pulling and fondness. For a number of years we had a thing where we called each other by initials. The leaders were Big E, and some of the Scouts were Small E or whatever. Some of these Lads still write to me and sign there name that way.

I do make a point of shaking hands with adults and Boy Scouts, I don't with Cub Scouts.

My idea of respect is more about letting people know that I value them, then what might be labeled good manners. Which are important and we need to teach our youth how to be well mannered.


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I prefer to be called Mr. (last name) by the Scouts. I think it is a courtesy the boys need to learn. It something we've stuck with in my Webelos den, but in my younger son's Bear den, his leader likes to be called Mr. (first name), so among those boys, I'm also Mr. (first name). I don't think it teaches the same lesson, but I suppose it's okay.


Another thing, Laurie, one of the reasons your may be getting the response you are when shaking hands is that I was always taught that gentlemen don't shake the hand of a lady. That's been updated to add, "unless she offers her hand first." It's a coustom I still follow. When introduced to a group, I'll shake hands with all the men but not the women, unless they offer their hand frist. It's sometimes interesting to see which women offer a handshake and which oned don't.

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In most business relationships, I will address the person using an honorific and I expect the same. I address my doctor as "Doctor" and he addresses me as "Mr. Fat Old Guy."


The Scouts in our troop address all adults as "Mr" or "Mrs" or by a nickname that was applied to them such as "Fat Old Guy."


Handshakes are an interesting thing. Way back in the second grade we had a course on ettiquette. How to answer the phone, take a message, do introductions, and part of it was how to shake hands.


When do I shake hands? All the time. When I go into a cliet's office. When I meet a fellow Scouter. When I'm introduced to someone.


If I'm in my office and someone has an appointment to see me and they come in, I stand up to greet them. If my co-worker from next door pops over to borrow a pen, I remain seated. I stand when a guest enters my home, if I haven't met him at the door and I offer my hand.


I don't wear a usually cap indoors, the mall is a strange exception however, I never wear a cap while eating unless it is very cold. It seems like the concept of uncovering while eating has vanished from our society.


"will ask what name he prefers for me to call him (so many nicknames!)"


This is one of my pet peeves. My son's name is Michael. My wife and I have always addressed him as Michael and he prefers to be addressed as Michael. For some reason, the world insists on shortening it to Mike or even Mikey. The odd thing is that in my troop we have a Curtis that no one has ever called "Curt," and a "Steven" that no one has addressed as "Steve", and an Anthony that has never been called "Tony." He's asked people to not call him "Mike" but everyone from teachers to friends have ignored that request.


As far diminutives go, if someone introduces himself as "James," I assume that he doesn't go by Jim unless he says, "Call me Jim." If I hear others calling him "Jim," I'll ask which he prefers.


Most of the Scouts I address as "Mr. XXX" simply because I can't keep the first names straight.(This message has been edited by Fat Old Guy)

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Mr. Fat Old Guy,

I would address your son as Michael if he was introduced that way. I have the problem of people assuming my short name is a nickname but it is not. Then my son gets his name shortened when he doesn't like it. Which gets even weirder because my first name is the beginning of his first name! At 3 years old he would tell teachers "that's my mom's name, not mine".


In our pack we call adults as Mr. or Miss First Name or Last Name. Around the school all adults are referred to as Mr. or Miss Last Name. If I speak of Miss Judy, who is also Miss Smith a teacher, the kids are REALLY confused. LOL

Some of the kids seem to be more comfortable with our last names, usually that links us to our child.

We do not allow the children to call us by our first names only.


I try to remember to shake hands with everyone but that is a hard one for me to remember. I even shake hands with the young cub scouts. I know some of our other adults do the same.




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Good thread topic Laurie!

When I returned to scouting as an adult leader I was only 22. Some of the scouts in the unit I served were only a few years younger than me. At that time I was very comfortable to be on a first name basis with them, and them with me. We did have an agreement though that around parents or adults other than myself and the ASM they would refer to us as Mr._____.


As the years widened the age gap I have become more comfortable with the scouts calling me Mr.________. I always ask the scouts when possible how they would prefer to be adressed and I will usually follow that choice. (there have been some nickname choices that I would not use).


As far as the handshake we (by that I mean the troop) try to be consistent with using the left hand with scouts and scouters and right hand with non-scout members.


We try to teach good maners through setting the example and scoutmaster minutes and personal conferences.


Bob White

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Ty, Good question, as with many of societies conventions, many continue on long after the reason for them are no longer obvious.


(every thing from this point on is from "what I heard" I dont claim it to be absolute fact, just "as I understand it")


Standing when a person comes in the room, comes from the time when a person didnt sit before royalty. No one sat in the prescence of the King until the King granted permission. It became a fashionable action to stand when someone you respected came into the room. Your standing confered your respect, you thought of them "as a King" or at least higher in standing than yourself. And as youngsters are supposed to honor their elders, children are supposed to rise when an adult enters the room. And men rise when a woman enters a room. At this point its good manners, the rest of the historical legacy has faded.


Why do we shake hands? Why do you rise for the 7th ining stretch? Why do you rise for the playing of Handel's Alleluis Chorus? Why do you open a car door for your date (watch that one, it could backfire on you) Why do you chew with your mouth closed, not talk while "your mouth is full" and work from the outside in when choosing flatware at a formal dinner Why do you "flic a Bic" at a concert?


All of these items and countless others come under the heading of Manners, and while some of them dont make sense, and others may seem silly, a social "faux pas" maybe deadlier to a career than technical incompetance. As you mature, observing manners may make a difference in your life, maybe not to you or your contentemporaries, but to those older it may make a big impression.

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"Is it everyone's experience that Scouters shake with the right hand by impulse.

"Why not the left? "


I seem to spend so much time at Scout activities that my first impulse is to offer the left hand in almost any circumstance.


What amuses me is when I run into a Scouter somewhere other than a Scout activity, I offer my left hand and he responds "we don't have to do that, we're not doing Scouting now."

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