|Father and Mother Osmond|
I'm now blogging without the assistance or hindrance of my recent secretarial aide, my father. For future reference in this column, unless I'm quoting myself addressing him, my father shall henceforth be known as "John." This is for the sake of brevity and clarity. If I say 'dad" or 'father," I have to add a modifier of "my," because I otherwise may be referring either to someone else's parent or be using the term in a general sense. if I refer to my own father as 'John," we all know about whom I'm talking. On the rare occasion on which I refer to another john besides my father, i will identify said John in such a way that it is clear I'm not talking about my John.. If John happens to read this later, he should console himself with the promise that I shall continue to afford him the respect of calling him "Dad" or "Daddy" when I address him. but is that sufficiently respectful?
On an only slightly related note, I shall share with readers a rather odd anecdote. In the original Osmond family, as in with Donny, Marie, Jay, Wayne, Alan, Jimmy, Merrill, and a pair of deaf brothers as the kids, and George and Olive as the parents, referring to their parents as "Mom and Dad," "Mommy and Daddy," or anything along those lines was forbidden. According to the opinion of George Osmond, patriarch of the pack [I wonder of "Patriarch" and "Patriarchess'' would have been acceptable alternatives to George Osmond] because we do not refer to our "Father in Heaven" as "Daddy" on the supposed grounds that such would be disrespectful, it likewise would be disrespectful for the Osmond spawn to refer to George as anything less formal than "Father," or to their mother, "Olive," as anything other than "Mother." For the record, George and Olive have passed on, so the point has become largely academic in the case of the Osmonds.
Incidentally, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that God has a wife ["In the heavens, are parents single? No! The thought makes reason stare!" That's a direct quote from a hymn. I'll probably be sued for copyright infringement..] , or maybe two or three or more, but one can be tossed out of formal church membership, AKA excommunicated, for speaking too freely about this supposed (or one of these supposed)"Mother(s) in Heaven."
If you do not believe me, go into an LDS Church (a recent memo has dictated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not to be referred to either as "The Mormon Church" or "The LDS Church," but there's not a whole heaping lot that the Mormon Church can do to me for referring to them any damn way I please) and somehow get yourself invited to give one of the many group prayers that will be offered throughout the three-hour mind- and butt-numbing marathon. You'll notice that prayers characteristically begin with "Our Father in Heaven," "Our Heavenly Father, "Our Father Who Art in Heaven," "O God, the Eternal Father," "Our Father Who Sits on his Butt on His Throne in in Heaven Spitting Sunflower Seeds Down on Those of us Here on Earth," "Our Father Which art in Heaven," (I've never understood the LDS use of the pronoun which in this sense in terms of when we typically use who and when we typically use which; are we referring to God as an object, as opposed to an actual being, in which case would that not be a form of making unto ourselves graves images?) or any other of the various and sundry salutations.
Start your prayer, instead, with "Our Father and Mother in Heaven," "Our Father and Mother Who (or Which) Art in Heaven, " or "Our Dear Heavenly Father and Mother." If you want to see the fur fly even faster, reverse the order: try "O God, the Eternal Mother and Father" in order to cut the monotony. watch what happens. Two to one, you won't even be allowed to finish your prayer. Either someone will start it all over and finish it for you, or the meeting will go prayerless just this once.
How important is the form of reference to a parent? Should an offspring address a parent by his or her first name? Is Mom, Dad or some other essentially affectionate form of parental address acceptable? Or should a parent only be referred to as "Mother" or "Father" because that's how we typically refer to God?
I'm curious as to the opinions of others.