What should kids call me?

Ian wonders if there is a certain point when his kids' friends should start calling him Mr. Mendes.

Photo by regan76 via Flickr.

Last week, I had the pleasure of volunteering for an afternoon in our daughter’s junior kindergarten class.

I helped the kids at snack time, assisted them with their reading exercises and assisted in preparing a craft — which is ironic because most of the children have better tracing and cutting skills than me.

I was hoping I would have one of those Kindergarten Cop moments, where I emerged out of a pile of screaming kids like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But sadly, nothing from the plotline of the movie ever materialized — which also meant I didn’t get to utter the line, “It’s not a too-mah.”

When I first walked into the classroom, Lily’s teacher asked me how I would like to be introduced to the students. In my mind, I had four options:
1.    Ian
2.    Mr. Mendes
3.    Mr. Lily
4.    Lily’s Dad

I told the teacher that she could introduce me as “Ian”, since most of our kids’ friends just call me by my first name. I’m a pretty casual guy when it comes to that sort of thing. I always feel like being called “Mr. Mendes” makes it very formal; like I might break out a calculator and spontaneously audit a child.

But there has certainly been a distinct shift in this realm, because when I was a kid, I never called my friends’ parents by their first names. They were always Mr. or Mrs. Cook; I never dreamed of calling them by their first name.  While parents today are eager to remain youthful, I wonder if we are losing a little of the respect factor when we let kids call us by our first names.  

To me it’s fine if a five-year-old kid wants to call me “Ian”. But it does seem a little strange to think about my daughter’s friends calling me by my first name when they are teenagers.

So I wanted to pose the following question to readers this week: Is there a point when my kids’ friends should be calling me Mr. Mendes?

Photo by regan76 via Flickr.