Teaching kids the pre-fixes and honorifics a person might use is an important lesson for navigating through society. Even if they're outdated and falling out of favor, it's useful to know what the possible options are.
But how do you teach them in 2022 when these sorts of things are in a state of flux?
Let's start with an example of how NOT to teach it.
Honorifics change for all people in accordance with their accomplishments and the given situation.
Some people might be a Mr. or Ms. or Mx. Others might be a Prof., a Rev., or even a Dr..
Women, the gender for whom honorifics have traditionally changed with marriage, might love to be called Mrs. or they might not.
Traditions evolve, and it's a practice that's falling out of favor. More and more women are choosing to keep their names and/or stick with Ms. because they don't feel defined by their marriage.
Since there are so many options, it's social policy and considered best business practice to just ask someone how they'd like to be addressed.
We could teach kids to just ask, too. The school Stephanie Taylor's son attends went a different direction.
Straight to the worksheet.
She's applauding the way he chose to answer an outdated and sexist question on that worksheet, and Twitter is joining her with a standing ovation.
The worksheet image shows three female figures. Sarah, the figure jumping rope, is labeled as "under age 18." Mary, the woman in the middle, is holding a sign that says "unmarried or unknown marital status."
Lara, the figure far right, is the focus of the question. She is shown in profile, with a detail shot of her hand, focusing on a ring on her finger. Under the drawing it says "married or widowed."
"Is Lara a Miss, Ms., or Mrs.?"
Women being defined solely by their marital status is not a vibe as far as this kid is concerned.
"I think she is a Dr."
As adults, we would just ask how a person wants to be addressed so why teach children to make assumptions?
Nobody wants to be the person to call a widow "Mrs." and make her cry or make an assumption based on jewelry. So why not teach kids the same?
Twitter hates this assignment.
It's pretty clear how people feel about the assignment and this 8-year-old's spot on response.