To each his own. To me my own.

Sir and Ma’am… please and thank you.

It seems like the days are few and far between now when we hear these words used.

Have you ever been present when someone actually takes offense to being called sir or ma’am? Sometimes a person reacts so strongly that they make you feel like you did something wrong. In my experience, most have been female. A while back I heard a woman react horribly to a young lad for simply being courteous. “I’ll have you know I am not old enough to be a ma’am, young man!” she retorted. The boy looked crushed and didn’t know what to say to her. I’ll never forget how hard it was to resist kicking her teeth in at that very moment. With one swipe of her sharp tongue, she successfully crapped on ten years of respectful upbringing. At the very least, she planted doubt in the method.

I call a female ma’am. I’ll call a gentleman sir. It’s not just a southern thing. Sometimes they’re older than me – sometimes they’re younger. I don’t and won’t ever consider it a slam. You see, to me it’s not about age at all – just plain old respect.

How about the kids today? Okay, not all, just most. At least the ones in my city, USA. GIMMIE!!!! NOW!!!! Hey kid… a please will likely get you that lollipop you’re screaming so loudly for in Cracker Barrel. And not if but when your parent gives in and buys you that thing you’re screaming for – how about a thank you? And whatever happened to excuse me? Excuse me’s come more in the form of an eye-roll nowadays. Yeah, you get my drift –  all these words are grossly underused. Sadly enough, manners are simply becoming a thing of the past.

Come to think of it, I think we just might benefit from a Sir/Ma’am/Please/Thank You/Excuse Me University. Starting at Pre-K.

Yes sir. Errr, ma’am

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12 responses

  1. Elena

    Yes ma’am! Sitting here smiling and nodding in agreement. In my mind, using these words convey courtesy and respect. Makes no difference if you’re speaking to a child, an elderly neighbor or the cashier…… stranger or family. It’s a small but important way we give that person on the receiving end the value and acknowledgement we all deserve. (Thank you!)

    March 2, 2011 at 8:36 am

    • Bonnie

      Well said, Elena!! I wish I could bottle up what you just said and spew it out when needed… 🙂

      March 3, 2011 at 7:34 am

  2. anotherredhead

    Thank you for posting this, and I couldn’t agree more! Even though I see less and less of it nowadays, I still find politeness to be a powerful asset. You’re one less jerk that someone has to deal with and you’ve made their day a little bit easier. And though there are situations where you’re perfectly justified in being upset, manners get things solved a lot more pleasantly. I wish more people would realize this!

    March 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    • Bonnie

      You’re so right… it IS a powerful asset! We have no idea what others might be going through around us daily – and like you, I wish there were more people who realized that. Thanks for stopping by!!

      March 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

  3. Yes, I think ’tis true. Manners have become what some believe to be obsolete. Yet, there are a few that continue to teach manners to their children. God bless them, and we know that their children will be blessed. Thank you for sharing your post about politeness. We need more of it. Blessings to you, Bonnie…

    March 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    • Bonnie

      I have a few close friends who are doing an excellent job at just that! When I go out to eat, it’s the first thing I notice around me, sometimes I wish I didn’t look so hard for it. 🙂 Blessings to you, dear Carol Ann…

      March 3, 2011 at 7:40 am

  4. Helen

    Ok Bon, you have put me on my soap box!!! When I was growing up, it was Yes Ma’am or Sir. This is the honest to God truth- if I had ever NOT used my manners, my dad would have knocked my teeth down my throat! I still use my manners and if I found out my kids or grandkids were not using their manners…I would make sure they never did it again! When I drove a schoolbus I could always tell which kids were being raised right and which ones were the brats. I had a 11 year old girl who rode my bus and she was all the time getting in trouble. I would say “young lady, sit down and behave!” After I had told her that a few times, I was called into the office. Yeah, like I had done something wrong! There sat her parents. As soon as I sat down, the mother {bleep} started cussing me out. Why? Because I had called her daughter a YOUNG LADY!! Now I have never been known to keep my mouth shut when I should so….after being cussed out for 5 minutes I looked at her and asked “well, do you want me to call her the brat that she is?” That shut her up for about 15 seconds and then she yelled at me “don’t ever call my daughter a young lady again!!!” and stormed out the door with her poor husband in tow. I just looked at Mrs. Bass and said I’m sorry. She just shook her head and said “and people want to know why schools and children are so bad. They have parents like those two.” You know, I have never understood a woman who doesn’t want to be shown respect or one that is so worried about her age to the point that it’s almost laughable. You know I have been a gammaw since the age of 36 and I wear that wonderful title with pride. Now my brother’s wife, she’s 11 years older than me, will not let her grandkids call her grandmaw. They have to call her TT {Trudie}. She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s a grandmother. Really? Has she looked in the mirrow lately?! Ok, ok, I’m off the real subject. Anyway, if I had heard that woman in the store getting mad after a Young Man had called her ma’am, I would have walked up looked at him and said “don’t worry. Just call her the bitch that she is”! It’s a wonder that I’ve never been to jail! 🙂 Well Bon, we have done our best to raise respectful kids and for me, grandkids and how I wish there were more like us. Hopefully the day will come again when it’s a MUST to be respectful. I can dream can’t I? When my time here is done, I can say that I did my best to raise great kids and part of that is being respectful to others. I worry about the kind of world my grands are going to have to live in, but thats something I’m gonna have to hand over to God. I wonder… are people this disrespectful when talking to God? I can only wonder. Love ya!!

    March 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    • Bonnie

      I can’t imagine having to work with kids in this day and age – and I say that only because of having to deal with the parents. Honestly, I’m sad to say nothing surprises me anymore. Back to basics, I say. That’s an excellent point you made… ‘are people this disrespectful when talking to God?’ Certainly makes you wonder! Love you!!

      March 3, 2011 at 8:04 am

  5. Yes Ma’am, this is a great post! I am glad that I have not forgotten to teach my children to use their manners. I work with children, and many of them think that they rule their homes, and the problem is not them, but the parents who allow them to. We parents need to be empowered and take back the responsibility to teach our children respect. There is a false sense of entitlement that somehow has been taught to today’s children (and adults too). We need to remember that we don’t own anything. We are on this earth for a reason: to love one another as God loves us. Not to demand or dictate one another. So saying please, thank you, ma’am, sir, and may I are essential. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

    March 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    • Bonnie

      Noel (I love your name!), it’s so great to hear another view of someone who works with children. I’d love to quote this sometime, “We need to remember that we don’t own anything. We are on this earth for a reason: to love one another as God loves us… not to demand or dictate one another. And that, as you said, applies not only to children, but adults as well. Sadly, I’ve seen that ‘false sense of entitlement’ abused by an adult even very recently. All we can do is continue to pray for the sweet patience like Job had.

      Thank you so much for an enlightening comment, and for stopping by! Blessings to you…

      March 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

  6. Pingback: “Just the Facts, Ma’am.” « My A.D.D. Project

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