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Calling others by their first name?


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In the two Congregations I was in as a young person, it was seen as disrespectful to call someone that was older than you by their first name. Even if both were adults and maybe only ten years apart. And even if the older one approved, others disapproved of it.

The Congregation we're in now is the opposite. Even youngsters call elders by their first name. A 5 year old might call a 55 year old elder "Tom".

There are two elders who call me by my first name. "Hey Jasmin, how you're doing?". Well actually all the elders call me by my first name. But with those two it's weird because I have nothing to do with them (privately) and one of them is new in the congregation. For me it was always like that: once you've spent some private time, like at your house, a gathering... You can call each other by the first name.

I have never experienced someone offering to someone else to start calling by first name. So that seemed like a good rule to me, by myself lol.

It feels weird to me to just call them by the first name. They're elders lol. But why should they call me by my first name and I them by the last name! I'm not a child. So that would be weird too.

If I talk about someone I always use the last name. "Brother Smith wants us to work this street", instead of "Michael wants us to..."

Sooooo, how is it in your Congregations?

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can relate to what you say Jasmin about it being disrespectful to use a first name for someone older than you was true for me also ~ was not raised in the congregation, yet it was true of the environment I grew up in... men were to be called 'sir', women were 'ma'am'... young women were 'miss'. As a result, I still call the brothers, particularly the appointed servants, 'Brother xxxxx'...  sometimes by reflex I call them sir then they hug me & say "I'm your Brother!"  :encourage:   It does feel weird to be so informal with elders, at least for me... some people do not understand this, we all grew up differently, old habits die hard.

  It get easier to use their first name after we've been to a door together since I cannot introduce them as 'Brother xxxx'

 

:)o

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I also was raised using older ones' last name along with a title such as Mr. or Mrs. or Brother or Sister.  But over time, it seems things have changed in our area.   I personally feel the title is cold and impersonal when used by those in my congregation.  We are encouraged to be warm and close with our brothers and sisters and being called by my first name seems too formal for me.  I do find, however, that when addressing others that I have just met, or those much older than me, I still use a title before their last name; over time that usually changes to a first name basis.  In all reality, I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late for dinner!

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I was raised that way too - last name for older ones.

 

Then something funny happens. We go to a Vietnamese group and most have the same last name Nguyen (or Huynh - sounds the same) so now what? Well, it turns out - in their culture - they use first names almost exclusively. For example - during the watchtower study I rasie my hand to comment and I get called brother Jerry and my wife - either sister Jerry or sister Debbie. Everyone goes by first name - to the point I don't know anyone's last name - although I assume it is Nguyen or Phan LOL.

 

EDIT> Even at the District Convention when they are calling ones up for their parts - it is "next lets hear from brother Jerry." The only exception - the CO and DO as they are English. But we have a Viet CO and they use his first name.

Edited by trottigy
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I was raised that way too - last name for older ones.

 

Then something funny happens. We go to a Vietnamese group and most have the same last name Nguyen (or Huynh - sounds the same) so now what? Well, it turns out - in their culture - they use first names almost exclusively. For example - during the watchtower study I rasie my hand to comment and I get called brother Jerry and my wife - either sister Jerry or sister Debbie. Everyone goes by first name - to the point I don't know anyone's last name - although I assume it is Nguyen or Phan LOL.

 

EDIT> Even at the District Convention when they are calling ones up for their parts - it is "next lets hear from brother Jerry." The only exception - the CO and DO as they are English. But we have a Viet CO and they use his first name.

<<<<<it even says that under your avatar pic!  See?  Brother Jerry!

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I was raised that way too - last name for older ones.

 

Then something funny happens. We go to a Vietnamese group and most have the same last name Nguyen (or Huynh - sounds the same) so now what? Well, it turns out - in their culture - they use first names almost exclusively. For example - during the watchtower study I rasie my hand to comment and I get called brother Jerry and my wife - either sister Jerry or sister Debbie. Everyone goes by first name - to the point I don't know anyone's last name - although I assume it is Nguyen or Phan LOL.

 

EDIT> Even at the District Convention when they are calling ones up for their parts - it is "next lets hear from brother Jerry." The only exception - the CO and DO as they are English. But we have a Viet CO and they use his first name.

 

There is a Vietnamese group where I am too. When I look at their schedule for, let's say, the Theocratic School, it says anh (brother) so-and-so, or chị (sister) so-and-so, using their first names. Maybe that's part of the culture?

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I see the use of last name has a barrier between two persons.

The Bible says we are family members: it's ust normal to use first names! Elders are much more approachable if they know well all members of the congregation and they let other use their first name.

 

I agree with you entirely. I never did like being called Brother Milton. Even when I was in the world I never liked Mister Milton. I always preferred that people use my first name.

 

I like your point about family members. Brothers and sisters always call each other by their first names. One point I learned several years ago, although in a different context: In the congregation, we are all brothers and sisters, and spiritual ties must always take precedence over all others! I have always felt that was a good point.

 

However, maybe because of background or culture, some might feel uncomfortable about always using first names. We should respect that.

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I guess it's a cultural thing. Here in Portugal we only use the last name if there are 2 brothers or sisters with the same first name. In that case I would be called brother João Tomaz. As a curiosity I have 6 names, 2 of my own, João Carlos, 2 of my mother and 2 of my father! Something rare even for Portugal :o

When I'm pioneering the brother announces my entire name... With visible difficulty :P

As for the question I feel that if we are brothers why not addressing for the first name? But I am aware that even for brothers in the flesh some family's use the last name, at least in Portugal.

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I was also raised in a congregation where the more formal "Brother ..." was used, especially if one was older. The congregation I am in now runs both ways. Many use first names, but not all. Most of the younger ones use Brother/Sister at the meetings but do call some by their first names in less formal settings.

 

I had a funny experience with this some years ago. In the congregation I was in when young we had a brother who was old enough to be may Grandfather ... or so it seemed. I always called him Brother ...  Later, when I was much older and we were serving together on the Body he told me to call him by his first name ... and, even though I called some of the other brothers who were in his age range by their first names, I had a hard time using his first name since he had been "Brother ..." ever since I had known him.

 

The congregation I am in mow has a few "quirks". We have an ex-CO on the Body and he is about 24 years older than I am ... but he would be insulted if I did not call him "Jim". His nephew is our COBE. When the nephew has a Q/A part he calls most people Brother/Sister but tend to call his wife by her first name and Jim as "Uncle Jim" - he calls Jim's wife "Aunt ..."

 

In return, when Jim has a part he usually calls his nephew by his first name and the rest of us ... well  we just never know if he is going to call us Brother/Sister or use our first name.

 

Of course, we also have a brother who often calls people by the wrong name or some version of their last name - a different version each time he calls on the same person.

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Here we always call others with their first names.   Even if they are old.  They like it  and  recent Watchtower article showed, calling by name shows more intimate and closer relationship, as if  part of one family(brothers  & sisters), with one Father Jehovah God

We know, we are not using Brother or Sister as  Title  as in  Mr or Mrs or Miss.   Brother & Sister is only to show part of one family, at least  that is everyone of us feel.  (Of course I know it differ from place to place)

 

Of course, we also call our God  with His first name in our personal prayers or  prayer from the platform.   We do not call  "  Oh  Almighty Jehovah,   Oh Creator Jehovah,  Oh Father Jehovah,... we just call   Oh Jehovah,    

 

(Then they say, why do we all have our personal names if we don't use it?  And why when we have our personal names, we should hide behind our family name?  especially there are several family members attending together, calling the common name,  means whom?   the one sitting at the extreme backseat, cannot see who is commenting,  is the  mother or the daugher,  is the father or the son?   because only the common name is called by the speaker) 

agape

Edited by Rajan
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I was also raised in a congregation where the more formal "Brother ..." was used, especially if one was older. The congregation I am in now runs both ways. Many use first names, but not all. Most of the younger ones use Brother/Sister at the meetings but do call some by their first names in less formal settings.

I had a funny experience with this some years ago. In the congregation I was in when young we had a brother who was old enough to be may Grandfather ... or so it seemed. I always called him Brother ... Later, when I was much older and we were serving together on the Body he told me to call him by his first name ... and, even though I called some of the other brothers who were in his age range by their first names, I had a hard time using his first name since he had been "Brother ..." ever since I had known him.

The congregation I am in mow has a few "quirks". We have an ex-CO on the Body and he is about 24 years older than I am ... but he would be insulted if I did not call him "Jim". His nephew is our COBE. When the nephew has a Q/A part he calls most people Brother/Sister but tend to call his wife by her first name and Jim as "Uncle Jim" - he calls Jim's wife "Aunt ..."

In return, when Jim has a part he usually calls his nephew by his first name and the rest of us ... well we just never know if he is going to call us Brother/Sister or use our first name.

Of course, we also have a brother who often calls people by the wrong name or some version of their last name - a different version each time he calls on the same person.

You made me laugh John :)

But I remembered we have funny things also... From the stand, everybody is called" brother /sister X"... But we a have brother that frequently exchanges names and the most bizarre case is an elder that NEVER remembers the names... It's always like this : "sister.... Huh... No! The sister next to brother... Huh...."

And goes like that all the way!

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

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You made me laugh John :)

But I remembered we have funny things also... From the stand, everybody is called" brother /sister X"... But we a have brother that frequently exchanges names and the most bizarre case is an elder that NEVER remembers the names... It's always like this : "sister.... Huh... No! The sister next to brother... Huh...."

And goes like that all the way!

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

 

One of our new elder who came from a different congregation - while conducting Service Meeting Q&A,  he  used to name the b&s like this..

 

yes sister  in yellow dress....    yes sister in that red saree..... brother  with that blue chequered shirt...

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As mentioned culture plays a huge role in this regard. In our cong first names are never used and I guess we accustomed to that atmosphere now. I like being reffered to by sister ..... :) . I definitely cannot call an adult in the cong by their first name, it seems disrespectful :nope:

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It's funny ... one of the Brothers I sometimes work for, we have known each other for over 40 years. We have seen each other get married and raise kids. His youngest son just started working with us. This boy is 17 ... keep in mind I have know his Dad since he was 17 ... well, on the Job what is he to do ... he calls me and the other guy by our first names and his Dad he calls Dad.

 

None of us get offended. In fact, it would sound a bit odd if he called me Brother .... and the other guy ,Mr. ... (that guy is not a witness).

 

I never really thought about it before, but I think he may have called me by my first name since he started talking.

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Here in the South they are fairly formal using Brother and Sister 'Last Name.'

 

One brother used to greet me with this weirdness: "And how is Brother Tyler's faithful wife tonight?" How do you respond to that? Odd. But they also say that a person is 'Umble' instead of 'Humble.'

 

In a congregation in Miami (a huge melting pot of assorted cultures) a brother (older Italian and very quirky) told the mic handler to take the microphone to: Christ Yler. HUH? Everyone went, who???? Finally the brother said, Chris Tyler. I was just mortified. Now I wish this crazy darling brother was still alive and in my life. LOVED him! He was always fun, if nothing else. And adorably Italian. His last name was Sciascia (Sha-sha) and his wife's name was Santa.  :lol:

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A sister, from a place, where they always use last name,  called me recently and asked me "brother, can you tell me my first name?  I totally forgot my first name since nobody called me with my first name for several years".  Since I have a tendency of calling others with their first name,   I remembered her first name and told her.

 

(how is it? bad joke? ) :)

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For some reason I refer to every one while at the KH as sister or brother so-in-so.  Once we leave the building it is usually first name basis.  The only ones I can't our the quite elderly and I just can't seem to do it.

Worldly people, Mr. or Mrs. or first name basis. Our young bartender Bree, calls me Miss Leslie.  It was Mrs. H--------but I told her it made me feel way to old.  Please call me Leslie.  She still calls me Miss Leslie.  I finally told her it made me feel as if I were running a brothel and please STOP doing it.  Now she calls me Les.  Why can't she understand it is Leslie?

 

Even "Hey sexy!  is preferable to Les!"

Edited by LeslieDean
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