Friday, October 09, 2009

the evolution of aunties and uncles...

when i was a kid, the only aunts and uncles i had were blood relatives. except for my auntie gail and uncle ric who were not but were close family friends. in thinking back, i'm remembering calling my parents' friends, mr. and mrs. whoever. definitely not auntie or uncle.

these days, every one of my friends has been referred to as auntie or uncle. but does this undermine the importance of the "real" aunts and uncles in our family? (well...i guess there are only 3 of them) should they have a different name that implies a difference?

so did you also not use auntie and uncle for your parents' friends when you were a kid and the terms are just evolving? or was it just my formal family? i'm quite interested to hear your thoughts...

8 comments:

LaelDyck said...

i never called anyone aunt and uncle except for my real aunts and uncles (including great aunts and great uncles). but i don't think it's a big deal to call CLOSE family friends aunt or uncle. i think it's a huge honour if your friend refers to you as aunt or uncle to their child. but i wouldn't call every friend an aunt or uncle.

Hanners said...

in peru we called everyone aunt and uncle, except for teachers who were Mr. and Mrs. and then a few randoms who didn't fit into the family category. my real aunts and uncles lived millions of miles away and were important to me, but the parents of my friends and the other older people around became my family. i still refer to many of them as "Aunt Nancy" or "Uncle Rich"... They aren't family, but they were influential in raising me to the outstanding individual i am today. . . and they all knew my parents so they could get me into a lot of trouble if they caught me doing something!! I think part of our culture tells us we're too young to be Mr. of Mrs. I don't want Ben to call me Miss Barkey! Miss hannah would be cute, but Aunt Hannah teaches Ben to respect older people, but also is less formal than Miss.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca! Growing up we both only called our Aunts and Uncles that... our kids now though call our good friends Aunt and Uncle. And from our friends kids I'd rather be called that then Mrs and Mr.I agree that it's like a huge honour. And it is our close friends not like someone one you see once a year or whatever.

Joyce

Megan Thiessen said...

our parents had a few close family friends & I don't know why but we only called one of them "Aunt & Uncle", maybe because they were their youngest of the friends?? Otherwise it was Mr. & Mrs. Our next door neighbhour was a bachelor & we always called him Mr. Ezzy, but when he got married when we were like 9 & 12 we just called her Pat. Go figure.

theRachel said...

I think we only called one guy uncle that wasn't a blood relative. However, I love that I can be Ben's "auntie Rachel."

I find it's interesting that in Aboriginal communities, the term "auntie" or "uncle" is often used for many close friends even if they are not technically an aunt/uncle. It's a term of affection and respect...I hope I still get to be Ben's "auntie Rachel."

Alyssa said...

In Japan we referred to any older person as auntie and uncle, but here in Canada I only called my blood relatives by those names. I called my parents friends by their first name, but now that I'm grown up I consider a lot of them to be like aunts and uncles since my real family was far away and they are the adults I grew up with.

Laurie Newbigging said...

We call our aunts and uncles by their first name, and our great aunts and uncles, "auntie so and so" or "uncle so and so"... but I have friends who refer to me as auntie when talking to their kids.

Ang said...

Domi insists that all adults in our "kids" lives will be referred to as aunty and uncle. In Hawaii it's pretty much rude for a little kid to call you by your first name. It's a total respect thing.
I love it when I'm here and get to be a "aunty angela" to all our friend's kids.
Seriously this Sunday there was a little girl we know, a couple rows up in church waving "Hi Aunty!" to me. So cute and more appropriate then calling me by my first name like her parents would.
The weirdest part for me was that when Domi and I were dating/engaged I still was calling his parents aunty and uncle. There was no smooth transition titles before mom
and dad. So that was strange for me.
...
I grew up calling my friend's from school's parent's by Mr. and Mrs. but family friends were just called by their first names.

So I guess the lesson in this is...make sure your kids call my husband "uncle". :) And I think that it's good for kids to feel like they belong and are supported. The bigger the "family" you set up for them the better.