When I was growing up, I wouldn't have dreamed of calling any of the adults in my life by their first names. It don't even thing I knew that my best friend's mom was named Susan until I was in Jr High.
In our new neighborhood, the children call all of the adults by their given names. Their parents introduce me to them by saying "Rebecca, this is our daughter (trendy name). (Trendy name) this is Rebecca." I cringe every time. Then I smile sweetly, extend my hand and say "Hi (trendy name), I'm Mrs Frech." Conversation usually stops for a moment as everyone looks at me.
In a society where parents are trying desperately to be friends with their own children and their children's friends, it has become "normal" for children to think of and address adults as their peers. These children aren't my peers or my friends. They play at my house, eat the snacks I make, and tease and joke in my kitchen. I like these children, and love having them around, but they aren't my friends so I insist that they call me Mrs Frech.
I think we lost something as a society when we began blurring the lines between childhood and adulthood. The children I see who first name grown ups seem to be confused about who is in charge. They are the children who argue, whine, wheedle and try to negotiate about everything that isn't exactly their own way. It's exhausting to be around them. There is a lack of authority from the grown-ups and respect from the kids.
Respect, authority, esteem (other than self-), and honor seem to be dirty words these days. Children aren't taught to say "Yes Ma'am" or "No Ma'am". They aren't taught how to speak to adults or that it should be different than the way they speak to their playmates. They grow up to be young adults who treat their college professors and bosses in the same manner they would their drinking buddies. When they reach adulthood and a little deference would help them, they find that it's not something they can do because they've never learned how.
That's why I'm no longer answering to 'Rebecca' for any of the neighborhood kids. You may call me old-fashioned or out of step, but I'm the grown-up so you can also call me Mrs Frech.
*****I recently learned that when my husband talks about my to people I haven't yet met, he refers to me in the honorific. "Let me call Mrs Frech and see what she thinks about that." He insists that these strangers give me the esteem he feels I deserve. Why would I allow the neighbor's five year old to speak to me in any way that's below the respect afforded me by my husband?