I’ve been working at the same place since I was 17 years old, a long, long, time ago. Over that period I’ve seen a lot of people come and go: students, fellow technologists, nurses, doctors.

Some of them I’ve been sad to see leave. Some, particularly a few doctors, I’ve happily held the door for as they left.

I have no problem admitting there are a great many people in the world that are much smarter than I am. I do sometimes disagree with those who assume they belong in that category based solely on their position.

Regardless of age, likability, or external relationship, while on the job, I still refer to any and all physicians as “Doctor (insert last name).”

If we are at a sports bar eating wings or playing pool above my garage it may be a different story, but it’s a title I feel they have earned, respect that should be given.

I firmly believe that teaching respect is a very important aspect of the parenting job, one that is often overlooked.

Behaviors such as not interrupting a talking adult, good sportsmanship on an athletic field, learning to wait patiently. A mindset of civility and propriety that needs to be developed early.

I believe that addressing people appropriately is one of these lessons.

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I have friends that I have known for over 35 years now, and in almost every case I will still call their parents “Mr.” and “Mrs.” The majority of these friends would refer to my parents by the same.

I don’t like the fact that high school teachers now allow their students to refer to them by first name. It implies a level of familiarity and equality I don’t feel the students should expect.

It fosters an environment where authority isn’t clearly enough defined and creates confusion over what is acceptable.

My youngest daughter’s friends call me “Mr. Jeremy,” a moniker I approve of because they’re five years old, it’s cute, and it’s better that being called “Alaina’s dad.” If they all remain friends, which I hope they’re able to do, that name will continue to be just fine.

For anybody over the age of 10 (an arbitrary number I just decided on), I think it’s reasonable to expect to be called “Mr. Barnes.”

I would hope both my girls offer the same courtesy and respect to any adults they address, regardless of setting.

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Any young man over the age of 12 can probably just stick to “Sir” and we’ll get along just fine.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.

Jeremy Barnes

Jeremy Barnes is a forty-something father of girls, stumbling through life but trying his best. When he's not watching sports or listening to music he writes about them and his changing perspectives of the world at www.thirstydaddy.com.