Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yes Ma’am

What ever happened to youth who respected their elders? Nobody says “Yes, ma’am,” or “Yes, sir,” anymore. No, it’s always dude, bro, yea, okay, aiit, cool, fersher and the like. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say “Yes, sir,” in real life. Where do I hear the sirs and ma’ams come out? On the TV show C.O.P.S., that’s where. When folks get into trouble, a lot of them start to remember their manners. Too late to keep them from jail, but a fun attempt anyhow.

Oh, you can hear respect at the supermarket and similar places, as well, but they are working and know they have to be polite to their customers. So it’s selfish respect. They don’t want to get fired. Approach them when they are with their friends and suddenly, the sirs and ma’ams are replaced with Homie, Lady, Brohemian, Girl and, of course, Dude. I wasn’t alive in the ‘60s or earlier, but something tells me that if a twelve year-old kid called a grown male “dude”, problems would likely have arisen. By that logic, the people back then were in fact teaching their children to respect their elders. Things like that are supposed to be passed on. So, where did it stop?

I know what you are thinking, and I hate generalizing, too. I do realize that there are a large number of young kids today who do show respect to those older than them, and maybe even to one another. However, there is also a large portion who do not, and I wonder if that’s relatively new or if we are losing our humanity, one child at a time. For every nice young boy or girl who remembers to say please and thank-you, there are ten who don’t even bother, it seems. That’s scary. I guess it isn’t “cool” to be a good person these days. Apparently, if you aren’t flying down the road in a muddy truck with 10,000 watts of bass and an offensive sticker in the back window, you just aren’t acceptable.

I would honestly be surprised if I heard a young boy or girl call an adult sir or ma’am. That is why I believe I used to hear it more. Of course, I grew up in Colorado, not California, and for those of you who have experienced both states, you realize they are more than a world or two apart. CA should be its own country, and that’s a fact. At least the southern portion. I hear Northern CA is nice, and maybe the youth know how to respect people up there. I wonder how it is in the Midwest.

Do you fine blog readers feel the same way? Is it just the immediate area I live in, or is everyone in the country just a dude or a chick? Leveling the playing field is fine in some areas of life and society, but respect for your elders is not one that I feel is negotiable. You just do it. No matter what type of clown you think the person is, you show them respect. After all, it isn’t for them, it’s for the speaker. It makes us look like better people when we bother to be polite. The impression left on the listener is profound, and then they hold us in a better light from the get go. Best yet, it’s free. Skateboard: $60. Metal Mullisha ball cap: $35. Adding some sick color to your tribal tattoo: $40. Putting a tiny bit of effort to show other people you realize they are human: Priceless.


L.L. Woodard said...

Here in central Oklahoma, which is fraught with all types of issues, being in the Bible Belt and all--courtesy isn't lacking. Many children speak respectfully to their elders. Smart teenagers do, too.

Anonymous said...

In my little corner, young kids are mostly respectful to adults, though sir and ma'am aren't really heard. The general attitude is good, though. Of course, that varies a lot from family to family, and whether they want to accept it or not, I believe that the responsibility for rude young children belongs to their parents. Now, tweens and teens are a different story, especially when not within earshot of their parents--they aren't typically all that respectful.

When they were growing up, my kids were taught to call adults Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith until Mr. or Mrs. Smith told them otherwise. That I rarely see anymore--even very young children call most adults by their first names, right off the bat. I find it strange, but I'm fine with it. As long as the attitude and behavior are respectful, the specifics of language don't matter that much to me. Of course, dude, homie, woman, or the ever-so-delightful all-purpose greeting "Yo!" all fall outside of the range of acceptable.

I’m A-Z Blogging and my “Y” post is right here.

SJerZGirl said...

I couldn't agree more. It's still heavily taught in the south. I picked it up to some degree when I worked with the FAA Air Marshals program. I don't always say it, but it does show a level of respect that no other phrase will ever do.

The Frustrated Foodie

Teri said...

Well, actually my 2 1/2 year old son said to me today "Here you go, sir." haha - Um, I prefer ma'am, thank you! ;)

RJR said...

Sir and Ma'am is one of those things that has always fascinated me on US tv shows, when a son calls his dad Sir.

It is certainly not seen in the UK except in schools where teachers are usually Sir and Miss


Misha said...

good post! I show respect to all people as I expect respect to be shown to me.

If someone is rude to me after I was courteous, all deals are off.

Golden rule applies here. Treat others like you want to be treated. If someone's rude, I assume that that's the way they want me to treat them.

And yes, you'd be amazed at how many so-called ADULTS don't grasp the idea of reciprocation. I might be younger, but not an idiot, so I prefer not to be spoken to or treated as if I am one.

DeusExLibrus said...

One of my dad's friends has a view on this I absolutely love: When you're a kid, you respect your elders and learn/follow the rules because you don't know how to break them in a constructive way. When you get older, you break them when appropriate, but by and large stick to 'em because they're there for a reason, not just because "the man" likes to keep you down.