Individualism has been a big part of my life growing up. Since I was little, my parents always gave me the opportunity to voice my opinion; whether it be where we go on vacation, or what Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor I wanted. When you’re an only child, this trait can be taken to the extreme and turned into a sense of entitlement, but I like to think that having these options since an early age made me respect my parents that much more. In American societies, respect is earned more than it is inherent, so when someone shows you respect, you typically return the favor. My parents tried to prepare me for the adult world by giving me this little freedom early on, and even treated me as a “mini adult” so to speak- helping me grow up a little faster.
In America, the elderly, especially when they are family, are given respect right off the bat, for we call them “Grandma” or “Nana” or whatever version your family might have, but rarely is the title skipped completely causing us to settle on solely their name. I call my step grandpa “Grandpa Wayne”, and my grandma “Mimmie” which is a tradition in my family. I would never consider using the informality of “Wayne” or “Barbara”. Even adults who are my parents’ friend, or my friend’s parents are addressed as Mr. or Mrs. As I get to know them better, it sometime may turn into Mr. or Mrs. followed by their first name, but this is pretty rare. We do have really close family friends, who are like an aunt and uncle to me, and I refer to them by their first names, but they are the only adults I do that with.