Monday, November 15, 2010


I was at the grocery store the other day and I was getting something from the hot food section.  The woman behind the counter was asking me about something and I responded "no ma'am."

I got a funny look.

Then she asked me something else.  Again, I responded with respect: "yes ma'am." 

Another funny look.

When did responding to elders with "ma'am" or "sir" become disrespectful?  When did we loose our manners?

MIB is 2 and 1/2 now and she already knows to say "yes/no ma'am/sir" to any elder in her presence.  When something is given to her she says "thank you."  When she doesn't want something she says "no thank you."  When she asks for something she ends it with "please."  Every.time. 

My parents are from the south and they raised me to respect my elders before I even understood what an elder was.  I just knew that if you were taller than me and older than me I better "ma'am" and "sir" you.  Because if I disrespected you, my butt would be disrespected.  I carry that to this day and if I see anyone that I might think is older than me you best believe that I'm gonna "ma'am" and "sir" them.  It's not a choice, it's second nature.

So when the lady behind the counter giving me my jalapeno poppers looked at me like I was crazy when I "ma'am" her, I didn't know how to act because usually people nowadays appreciate respect like that. 

I don't know what happened to my generation where terms of respect are looked at as if they were old, or the person saying it was bullshitting or whatever the case maybe.  I am trying to figure out when did a man opening a door for a woman wasn't a gesture to get in your pants but a gesture of chivalry.  When did respect become a bad thing? 

And when will respect become a trend again?  When will our parents and our peers and our children begin to recognize the power of respect and the power of being respected?  I hope that as MIB grows into a woman that she sees how far a respectful "yes ma'am" can take her and how respected a "yes ma'am" can make her feel.

How are you teaching your children to respect their elders and themselves?

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