Saturday, 16 June 2012

Where does respect begin?

We often hear the cry "One of the problems with the world today is that kids have no respect for anyone". Like most attempts to apportion blame for perceived wrongs, that is a generalisation of massive proportion, but I do think there is some truth in the claim that many kids don't respect their elders as they did in years gone by. Undoubtedly the causes are many and varied. One of them is that so many adults, by their actions and words, don't deserve much respect, but that was always the case.

I was giving some thought to this today and came to the realisation that in the long gone days of my childhood and early adolescence, we addressed every adult by their family names, preceded by the honorifics Mr, Mrs or Miss. The only exceptions beyond the extended family were close family friends who in some cases were honorary aunts and uncles and were addressed as such.

I suspect today's seemingly universal practice of kids calling adults by their given names has evolved from the desire of modern adults to be "with it" and accepted as a part of the kids' scene (hence, "Just call me John"). I'm wondering how significant the erosion of the older tradition has been in our perception that young folk no longer have respect for their elders. After all, how are they to differentiate between their peers and adults? Have we taught them to see no difference between their schoolyard friends and their elders?


  1. I am sooo with you on this one. It borders on the subject of my post for tomorrow, "Say Uncle."

    1. Sorry I missed your comment, Cranky. I removed moderation and failed to back up by regularly checking comments. I do appreciate your visiting and commenting. Love your blog, by the way!

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