Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yes Ma'am is not demeaning

I have several things bumping around in my head today, and usually when that happens it results in a long and rambling post. I'll do my best to be succinct and stick to the topic, in spite of the 4,893 things that are filling my head today.

Firstly, all of y'all who are my friends on facebook may have noticed that I got a scanner. And if you did notice that, then you are probably wishing it would break or that I would finally run out of pictures. Or get a life. Or something. Your news feed has probably been inundated with pictures like these...

I'm sorry to tell you that not only is the scanner working perfectly, but I have boxes and bins full of old pictures. And also, I do not have a life. In short, I will be scanning until the cows come home. Or until the fat lady sings. What I'm trying to say here is that I have a LOT of scanning to do.

And I will also warn you, I am tagging people. So if you are in one of my old out.

Moving on, and completely unrelated to the first topic, I have been thinking a lot about the differences between Northerners and Southerners. I have lived all over the country and so I have picked up a few tidbits. One of the main differences is the approach to children and manners. I'm from the south, and down here we teach our kids to say ma'am and sir. I also tried to teach my children to say please and thank you as soon as they could talk. 

When my children were born we lived in Michigan and then moved to Washington state, where ma'am-ing and sir-ing is not common. In fact I was told many times that it is demeaning to children to make them say this. I ignored this yankee-ish advice and carried on like a good southern girl, but it wasn't easy. When I would gently remind the kids to say please or thank you or sir or ma'am, I was constantly told that he/she didn't need to say that. It's very difficult to teach your children when there isn't any confirmation or support. When the kids were just learning to talk and they wanted something I would remind them to say please or thank you. I would invariably be told by some well meaning northerner that there was no point to teaching them to say it because they didn't know why they were saying it. I always responded that I didn't care if they ever knew WHY, as long as they said it.

It wasn't until we moved back home that I was able to really get the manners thing to stick with my kids. I'm happy to say that today my teenagers are very polite and they (almost) always say sir and ma'am when speaking to their elders. They do not consider it demeaning. They understand that it is a sign of respect. They also understand that it usually earns them brownie points. 

I'm wondering how you feel about the sir and ma'am issue. Do your children say it? Do think it is wrong? It seems as though people either love it or hate it. 

I love it. 

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