Thursday, June 6, 2013

Teach Us, Miss Bedelia.

P was reading Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia to me in the car the other day. I love these books and it was fun to have her reading it. After she finished, we were almost home so we were just chatting about the book. She said, "Miss Bedelia isn't a smart teacher."

She might not be a good teacher, but I loved the way P respected her, as an adult, and didn't call her by her first name. I was impressed. I've never heard her called anything but Amelia Bedelia and never thought to call her Miss Bedelia before.

This is something that is fading in our culture. Kids, little kids, calling adults by their first name. I know that it doesn't bother everyone (anyone?), but it drives me flat nuts for kids to call me Les (and for the parents to be standing right there and not correct them).

When did things change? And why? I remember being a teen, old enough to drive, and still refusing to call adults by their first name. I remember one lady that I babysat for who would ask me to call her by her first name, and I just couldn't do it. It seemed so disrespectful to me.

In OK, it is very common to call people "Mrs. Firstname" or "Mr. Firstname."  I'm completely ok with that too. Just adding that little prefix in there changes it from "Hey, equal." to "Hey, person I respect and acknowledge is not my peer."

I'm working with the kids (again...this is ongoing, but I'm not consistent enough) about using ma'am and sir. We were good about making them when they were little, but slacked off. I love hearing little ones (and big ones) calling people ma'am and sir. Why have we quit hearing that around here? When I visit my family in AL, everyone uses ma'am and sir. In OK, it is definitely the exception and not the rule...and usually if you hear it in a kid, they just moved here. Why is that?

What do you think? Am I being crazy here? What is it like where you live? Just curious...and rambling.

Teach Us, Miss Bedelia. Teach us respect.


  1. I agree, it does seem disrespectful. We do try to have our children do this, but some people have told us it is too formal. Some of our very close friends they refer to as "Uncle" or "Aunt". Were I live you hardly ever here "Mrs" and the first name, let alone sir and ma'am unless you are at the store. When the other party does not like it, that seems disrespectful too. It's a hard issue to resolve. We have tired to teach our children to be respectful of their elders and also of their peers in their actions. It's a journey.
    I absolutely loved reading Ameila Bedelia as a kid!!

    1. I figured a lot of it is regional. I think it is interesting.


I would love to hear your thoughts!!