No Matter What Happens Tomorrow

It is no secret that I want Mitt Romney to win tomorrow.  Maybe even more than I wanted the Portland Trailblazers to win the NBA title in 1990, which is saying something.  I want Romney to win because I see him as a man of character, integrity, humility and goodness.  Plus our country is pretty screwed up, and Romney is a proven problem solver .   To be honest, if  he doesn’t win, I am not sure I will be able to get out of bed on Wednesday.

But no matter what happens tomorrow, I am going to call the man that wins President.

It will be either President Obama or President Romney.

It is not Obummer or O.B.A.M.A (One Big Ass Mistake America) or BO. It is President Barack Obama.

Likewise, it is not Mittens or Williard or Mutt, or my personal favorite, Mitt.  It is President Mitt Romney.

My observation of titles was piqued during past elections. I listened to news anchors, journalists, reporters, lay men, etc in the media and I would often hear  “President Obama”  and then  “George Bush” or I would hear “President George W. Bush” and “Barack”.  Leaving off  “President” was a subtle jab and an indication of the commentators’ allegiance.

But here is the truth:

No matter what your political affiliation, you use the title President for former and current Presidents of the United States.

And this is why:

The title ‘President’ is an indication of your respect for the office, not the man.  So it is always President Obama and President Bush- always. And crossing my fingers– it will be President Romney.

The use of titles goes past the office of President.  It goes into our schools and into our churches as well.

There is the growing trend for kids, especially teenagers, to leave off titles from their teachers and leaders.  And the leaders and teachers go with it because it makes them feel hip and young.  It makes them think the kids like them more or they are connecting or they are special somehow.

But all the adult leaders are doing when they don’t expect titles is disrespecting the position and the relationship.  Remember, we aren’t buddies or bffs, we are teachers and leaders.

And no one would argue that kids respect adult authority like they used to.  Maybe the decline in respect isn’t the kids fault?  Maybe it is ours.  Maybe the lack of respect has something to do with the lax attitude we adults have towards titles and the permission we give them to call us less than we are.

Here is a personal example:

When my husband was asked to be the Bishop of our church ward at the age of 28 it was hard for many, including me, to use the title of Bishop.  Chad was younger than every guy in our ward, but one.  And some of the people had a bit of a problem with a younger guy with bleached tips having a position of authority over them.  And the youth had a problem with putting such a old, formal title on someone they didn’t really see as old or formal.  It was hard to call him Bishop Erickson.

My husband was too nice and too humbled and didn’t really want to be called Bishop anyway, so he didn’t push it.  And then it was even more awkward when people would ask, “What should we call him?”  as if he were different than any other Bishop.

So I became his title advocate.  I first had to convince Chad that he should expect people to call him Bishop.   I told him it wasn’t him they were respecting, but the office and position of Bishop.  And to discount his position was to discount revelation.

(And you should know that once a Bishop always a Bishop.  They are ordained to the office of Bishop not just called to a calling. So when your Bishop gets released you still use the title Bishop.)

And now that Chad serves in the Stake Presidency, his proper title is President.  But people still can’t get it down.  In fact,  last year, we were at a church function and a man in a leadership position who knew better (he is a punk anyway and I would punch him in the face if I weren’t such a lady:)) said, “Is Chad here?”  I looked him square in the eye and replied, “President Erickson is right over there.”  He smirked at me and I smirked back, but he got the message.

Now I don’t insist on Bishop or President because I think my husband deserves these titles or because I have some ego about it.

Frankly, I hate it.

I couldn’t kiss my husband for a good month after he got called as Bishop.  The title and calling was an instant turn off.  But I insisted on the titles because I want to show respect for the position … no matter who holds it.

And the same goes for our United States.  It is President Obama and (crossing my fingers and bending my knees) it is  President Romney.  Whomever.  It doesn’t matter.  Anyone who is President of the United States, whether you like him or not, whether you respect his policies or not, whether you agree with him or not, is charged to do a great work and deserves the respect of a proper title.

So teach your kids that there is President

and Mr. and Mrs.

or Miss or Ms.

or Officer

or Doctor

and in my church there is President, Bishop, and Brother and Sister.

And maybe when more adults start using proper titles and showing respect for the President of the United States, as well as our teachers and our church leaders, then our kids will too.

16 Comments
  1. Totally agree! I see the biggest problem in young women when some of the leaders allow the girls to call them by their first names. My kids are never allowed to call someone at church (even our neighbors) by their first name. Not because they aren’t friends, but because it is respectful to call them Brother or Sister. I would never allow them to call me Angela – I’m mom! I wish more parents got this!

  2. I totally agree about titles. I gently remind youth all the time about this. My teenage son and his friends at church frequently call their leaders only by their last name. Instead of Brother Smith, for example, they will say Smith. It drives me nuts and I wish it would stop. It’s a bad habit my son is in and he knows better! Thanks for a great post.

  3. One of the primary children asked me my name yesterday. I told her Sister F… Another child overheard and asked with wonder if we were sisters (the first child and I). Hearing “Sister” something was obviously new to her. It made me laugh, but then it made me sad that the concept was so foreign to her. I think it’s awesome when adults make an effort to refer to other adults appropriately in primary and other church events. The children in our neighborhood struggle with respect but it’s not something that I’m willing to just let pass. We need to help them figure it out. (And I totally agree with the President thing. Let’s have respect for the office if nothing else!)

  4. I struggle with this….I always want to call him Chad because I consider him my friend outside of church functions…but then I confuse myself…I should just stick with President Erickson! I think we will do a family night on this tonight. 🙂

  5. I agree, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. It’s so hard to call my friends in Young Women’s sister. But I will continue to do better. Also, what’s your feeling at school and home. I walk through our Elementary school and almost without fail everytime I get atleast a few very excited “HI SISTER EGGETT’S” It always makes me chuckle. Also, when my kids friends are at our house…..really should they be expected to call me Sister Eggett?

    1. I don’t think you have to expect ‘Sister’ outside of a church setting. I don’t care if people call Chad, Chad if we are hanging out together. I am not sure how I feel at home?? I like the idea of Ms. Shelley?? I will think on this more.

  6. “I couldn’t kiss him for a good month” thanks for the food laugh! But in all seriousness, this was a great post.

  7. I struggled having my YW call me Sister McNeilis considering I feel like that is my mohther in-laws name. But after being counseled to do so by my Bishop I knew it was necessary to establish the leader role instead of the friend role.
    Great post Tiff!

  8. I’m surprised – you don’t strike me as a Romney type. I’ll be praying that president Obama stays. I would be terrified for a future with Romney – especially for the least among us.

    I live in the south and think it is cute when some parents have trained kids to use sir and mam. I would never have my kid do that though- it reaks of slavery and Jim Crow. Sometimes titles separate and divide us.

  9. I live in a primarily military community and the “Sir” and “Ma’am” have nothing to do with race, they have everything to do with respect!
    Our children have been taught to use “Sir” and “Ma’am” until invited to do otherwise by the adult in question. When it is an adult in authority we request that they call them by a “Ms.” or “Mr.”, even if that is then followed by their first name.
    Our day care is very informal but we call our children’s teachers “Ms. Sarah” or “Mr. Jay” instead of the first name alone which is common. It lends an air of respect for them and for their role as care giver to my child – a role I do not entrust to others without serious consideration.
    This is a timely and important post. Thank you!
    PS> Why is there only one title for a woman in the LDS church? They can’t be Elders or Bishops or Presidents?

    1. Megan, thanks for your response. I like the idea of using Ms. or Mr. even with a first name. And I will try to respond to your question about the LDS church the best I can. The majority of men in our church are called “Brother” and women are mostly referred to as ‘Sister’. These titles come from our belief that we are all part of the family of Christ and we all take upon his name when we are baptized. A handful of men are called as Bishops (like 1 per every 400 members). Women, however, do not hold certain positions like Bishop or Elder because women do not hold the Priesthood in our church and these are Priesthood positions. Women can be called as Presidents of different church organizations though. I was a President two different times. Once I was President of the children and the other time I was President of the girls age 12-17. I was referred to as President Erickson during those times.

      I know it is confusing so here is a link that might be able to answer more of your questions about women and leadership in our church:
      http://www.mormon.org/faq/women-in-the-church

      Thanks for asking and I would be happy to answer any other questions you have. Just shoot me an email through the Contact button at the top of the blog.

  10. Our good friend is our bishop and so for a while we didnt’ know what to call him. Finally it was decided by all of us that at church functions it was Bishop, in social situations it is Kevin.

  11. This was a very much needed post. I was raised in a military family and we were raised to say, “ma’am” and “sir.” We were also raised to say “Mr.” and “Mrs.” I totally agree with you Tiffany and Megan!!! It is all about respect, not where you were raised. I was born in Memphis, TN and raised everywhere, I am almost 30 and still say “ma’am,” “sir,” “Mr.” and “Mrs.” I will also teach my children to do the same, I cannot stand it when a child says “yeah” or “naw.” It makes me cringe. I am so happy people are still out there who raise their children to have manners.