Caring More

Alexis - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on April 7, 2011
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect

There are two kinds of people in the world, the care more and the care less. As a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio I learned from a young age that when I address someone by name I show that I care more. My Auntie Kia was the first person that made me think about this. When over her house I had a habit of addressing her as, “Hey” when I wanted to get her attention. As I got older she started to tell me that, “Hay is for horses, and I am not a horse.” She then would go on to explain to me that it was disrespectful to address someone as “hey,” especially when you knew the person’s name. After that she would not answer me until I used her name correctly. At first this annoyed me, but then I realized that maybe it annoyed her too. I began to understand that using a person’s name represents the respect I have for that person. Looking back on it now, I regret not using her name when I addressed Auntie Kia because I know now that, that little action would have told her that I respected her and showed her I cared enough about her to say her name.

Growing up as a twin I experienced the outright disrespect some people have in the world. At least one time a day people would get my sister’s and my names mixed up. My sister replied immediately with the rude audacious, approach; she would stop everything and say ‘you weren’t talking to me because I am clearly Aleigha and not Alexis, she is over there!’ then there would be apologies. My sister made sure no one forgot her name. She was a very out spoken child. I rarely spoke-up at first; I just let the rudeness slide making excuses for the person, like we just met. Eventually though, I began to speak up and correct them as we were talking by simply saying ‘Oh you meant Alexis’ and they would nonchalantly brush it off. I am not one who would completely blow up if someone says my name wrong, but I would make a mental note and it would go something like ‘she has known me since first grade and she still can’t get my name right, it’s not that hard she must not even care about me.’ As I got older I began associating a person saying my name wrong, or not saying my name at all, as one who is disrespectful and rude.

A name represents so many things for different people; it can represent a person’s cultural background, a person’s characteristics and even the identity of a person. When you address someone by their name you care more, and you are essentially telling that person, I respect you and your differences. I believe in not only addressing someone by their name but at the same time saying it correctly and with meaning, this I believe.