When we were young, our parents would introduce us to adults and say, “this is Mr. ____, or this is Miss_____ or Mrs. ____,” and we would say “hello Mrs. ______.” It was how we showed respect for an adult – someone older than us and had earned the right to be respected. We never thought about calling them by their first names. It would be rude and disrespectful, and our parents would be mortified. The idea of doing this wasn’t even on the radar.
Recently someone asked our children to call them by their first name. I know they didn’t think anything of it and meant no harm because it has become common. We are raising our children to respect the hierarchy, the chain of command. With a hierarchy, everyone pays their dues and reaps the benefits of respecting, working hard, and experiencing.
Colleen Harding is a certified etiquette and protocol instructor and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Programs and packages available for children and businesses.