Miss Manners: I’m not comfortable with children using my first name
She introduced herself as Debbie, although they already knew her. I had intended to introduce myself as Mrs Smith, but everyone else followed Debbie’s lead and introduced themselves by their first names only. When it came to me I was uncomfortable saying Mary as I didn’t want the kids to call me by my first name so I said Mary Smith.
It stood out because I was the only one using a last name, but at the age of 70 I’m used to kids calling me Mrs Smith. How should I have dealt with this?
It was miss Manner’s own dear mother, who set a precedent for you many years ago.
She taught at a school where the teachers were and are called by their first names. Although the suspicion is now that this was done out of a leftist sense of equality, that was not the reason. No one thought that elementary school students could match the older and more educated faculty, although the mission was to help them eventually become so.
Rather, the informal nomenclature was due to the school being founded by a tiny group of families whose children were closely related. The equality it championed was that it had been fully integrated since its inception in the 1940s, with no racial or religious quotas, at a time when all other schools in the city, public and private, were segregated.
Miss Manners approves your request to write “Mrs. Blacksmith.” Her mother would do it too, because that’s what she did. It was respected.
Dear Ms. Manners: Three years ago my husband and I bought our dream house. It’s an hour away from our old house which is on the beach. I use the beach house as an office a few times a week.
We have offered the beach house for close family and friends to use. I have recently become close to one of my cousins who is just as pleased to use the home as we are offering.
The problem is that now her brother and sister also feel entitled to use it. I am not particularly close to these cousins and they are known in the family as “takers”. One of the “takers” from abroad has a habit of leaving her children with various relatives for a week and then leaving them all summer. Everyone in the family knows to stay away from them.
The “takers” contacted me to use the beach house. I explained that it is a place of business and that there are affordable hotels nearby. They would not take no for an answer. How do I keep them in check and still let my other dear cousin use them?
1. Say no than often as needed. 2. Lock the door.
Maybe you can ask the preferred cousin to tell him to back off. If not, you need to say clearly – and perhaps often – that the house just isn’t available and won’t be available any time soon.
New Miss Manners columns are published Monday through Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/advice/2022/07/05/miss-manners-kids-first-name/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_lifestyle Miss Manners: I’m not comfortable with children using my first name