Cassandra Walker

When I was a young girl, you always called your elders by their last name. I do not care who they were, teacher, librarian, school cook, custodian, postman, you called them “Mr.” or “Mrs.” “whatever their last name was.” Even “Mr.” or “Mrs.” and a first name would work in most cases.

These days it seems like more and more of the younger generation wants to equalize adults by calling us by our first names. I was in my yard not too long ago, when a young boy around 10 years old says, “Hello, Cassandra, how are you today?” 

The bad part is his father was walking with him. I waited for his father to correct him, but instead he just stood there looking at me, as if he were saying, “Well, aren’t you going to say hello back?” I had to check myself before I responded, remembering that this is just a child.

I nodded at the boy and then reminded him (or maybe I taught him something he never knew) you always call adults by their last name, not their first name. He looked puzzled and then said, “Okay” as he skipped off. The dad looked offended.

As they walked away, I wondered how much culture had to do with how we greet one another. The little boy was Caucasian and so was his father. Maybe they do not view salutations the same way that African Americans do, I thought.

Comedian Bill Bellamy (who is African American)  joked once and said, “I didn’t even know my mother had a first name, I thought her name was ‘Mama’!” In the black community, it’s never a first-name bases.

In our culture the idea of talking back, especially in public, was also a big fat no! You might end up with a big fat lip if you did.

These days I see kids giving their parents much attitude in the stores, at athletic events and even in church. That would have never happened in my home as a youth (or my home now, for that matter). If it did, you would struggle to sit down comfortably after you got home and your dad grabbed his paddle. However, today  that is called “child abuse”! Really? Tell that to my parents.

With current technology, our kids are tech-savvy, information-crazed and more advanced in some areas then my generation will ever be, but where are their manners? Snap Chat, Twitter, Facebook, are not proper teaching grounds for how to act in public. To use a term from texting: SMH!

Are we allowing ungratefulness and apathy to take over our young people? Isn’t it still proper to send a “thank you” note, not a text, when someone sends you money for graduation or a birthday? Heck, what about wedding gifts when you fly across the country to attend the wedding, give a nice gift and congratulatory remarks. Is a “thank you” card just too much to ask?

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