During a recent conversation with my daughter she asked me why people call me different names. She may be only four, but she is a keen observer of the world around her. Here is a short recap. It is not quite verbatim, but it is close enough.
Daughter: Daddy, why do people call you different names?
Dad: What do you mean?
Daughter: Why do some people call you Jack and others call you Mr. Jack?
Dad: That is because we have different relationships with people. Some people know me better than others do, so they feel more comfortable using a more familiar name.
Dad: We’re teaching you how to do this too. You’ll call some of the people you know by their name and others will be a more formal version, like Mrs. Loren or Mr. Saltzman.
Daughter: But how will I know who to do this with.
Dad: Mom and I will help you figure it out. Don’t worry about it, we’ll help you teach your friends what to call us too.
Daughter: What should my friends call you?
Dad: Well, if they’re boys they can call me “Death.”
Daughter: Death? Daddy, your name isn’t death.
Dad: Just wait a few years and you’ll understand.
Daughter: But why should the boys call you “Death.”
Dad: Well, I suppose that I can come up with another name.
Daughter: Like what?
Dad: Hmm? How about “Their worst nightmare.” Or maybe “Mr. Castration.”
Daughter: (Giggling) You’re so silly.
Dad: I am not silly, I just love you.
Daughter: I love you too daddy.
Dad: Good, now come give your dad a hug.